Dvornek, N. C.; Sigworth, F. J. & Tagare, H. D. SubspaceEM: A fast maximum-a-posteriori algorithm for cryo-EM single particle reconstruction. J Struct Biol, 2015, 190, 200-214
Single particle reconstruction methods based on the maximum-likelihood principle and the expectation-maximization (E-M) algorithm are popular because of their ability to produce high resolution structures. However, these algorithms are computationally very expensive, requiring a network of computational servers. To overcome this computational bottleneck, we propose a new mathematical framework for accelerating maximum-likelihood reconstructions. The speedup is by orders of magnitude and the proposed algorithm produces similar quality reconstructions compared to the standard maximum-likelihood formulation. Our approach uses subspace approximations of the cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) data and projection images, greatly reducing the number of image transformations and comparisons that are computed. Experiments using simulated and actual cryo-EM data show that speedup in overall execution time compared to traditional maximum-likelihood reconstruction reaches factors of over 300.