Singharoy, A.; Teo, I.; McGreevy, R.; Stone, J. E.; Zhao, J. & Schulten, K. Molecular Dynamics-based refinement and validation for sub-5 Å cryo-electron microscopy Maps Elife, 2016
Two structure determination methods, based on the molecular dynamics flexible fitting (MDFF) paradigm, are presented that resolve sub-5 Å cryo-electron microscopy (EM) maps with either single structures or ensembles of such structures. The methods, denoted cascade MDFF and resolution exchange MDFF, sequentially re-refine a search model against a series of maps of progressively higher resolutions, which ends with the original experimental resolution. Application of sequential re-refinement enables MDFF to achieve a radius of convergence of 25 Å demonstrated with the accurate modeling of β-galactosidase and TRPV1 proteins at 3.2 Å and 3.4 Å resolution, respectively. The MDFF refinements uniquely offer map-model validation and B-factor determination criteria based on the inherent dynamics of the macromolecules studied, captured by means of local root mean square fluctuations. The MDFF tools described are available to researchers through an easy-to-use and cost-effective cloud computing resource on Amazon Web Services.