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Amyloid structure determination in RELION-3.1

By Sjors Scheres

Posted 29 Oct 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/823310 (published DOI: 10.1107/S2059798319016577)

Helical reconstruction in RELION is increasingly used to determine atomic structures of amyloid filaments from electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) images. However, because the energy landscape of amyloid refinements is typically fraught with local optima, amyloid structure determination is often difficult. This paper aims to help RELION users in this process. It discusses aspects of helical reconstruction that are specific to amyloids; it illustrates the problem of local optima in refinement and how to detect these; and it introduces a new method to calculate 3D initial models from reference-free 2D class averages. By providing starting models that are closer to the global optimum, this method makes amyloid structure determination easier. All methods described are open-source and distributed within RELION-3.1. Their use is illustrated using a publicly available data set on tau filaments from the brain of an individual with Alzheimer's disease.

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