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J Struct Biol. 1997 Oct;120(1):11-21.

IRIS explorer software for radial-depth cueing reovirus particles and other macromolecular structures determined by cryoelectron microscopy and image reconstruction.

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Institute for Molecular Virology, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706, USA.


Structures of biological macromolecules determined by transmission cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-TEM) and three-dimensional image reconstruction are often displayed as surface-shaded representations with depth cueing along the viewed direction (Z cueing). Depth cueing to indicate distance from the center of virus particles (radial-depth cueing, or R cueing) has also been used. We have found that a style of R cueing in which color is applied in smooth or discontinuous gradients using the IRIS Explorer software is an informative technique for displaying the structures of virus particles solved by cryo-TEM and image reconstruction. To develop and test these methods, we used existing cryo-TEM reconstructions of mammalian reovirus particles. The newly applied visualization techniques allowed us to discern several new structural features, including sites in the inner capsid through which the viral mRNAs may be extruded after they are synthesized by the reovirus transcriptase complexes. To demonstrate the broad utility of the methods, we also applied them to cryo-TEM reconstructions of human rhinovirus, native and swollen forms of cowpea chlorotic mottle virus, truncated core of pyruvate dehydrogenase complex from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and flagellar filament of Salmonella typhimurium. We conclude that R cueing with color gradients is a useful tool for displaying virus particles and other macromolecules analyzed by cryo-TEM and image reconstruction.

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