Heymann, J. B. Single particle reconstruction and validation using Bsoft for the map challenge. Journal of structural biology, 2018, 204, 90-95
The Bsoft package is aimed at processing electron micrographs for the determination of the three-dimensional structures of biological specimens. Recent advances in hardware allow us to solve structures to near atomic resolution using single particle analysis (SPA). The Map Challenge offered me an opportunity to test the ability of Bsoft to produce reconstructions from cryo-electron micrographs at the best resolution. I also wanted to understand what needed to be done to work towards full automation with validation. Here, I present two cases for the Map Challenge using Bsoft: ß-galactosidase and GroEL. I processed two independent subsets in each case with resolution-limited alignment. In both cases the reconstructions approached the expected resolution within a few iterations of alignment. I further validated the results by coherency-testing: i.e., that the reconstructions from real particles give better resolutions than reconstructions from the same number of aligned noise images. The key operations requiring attention for full automation are: particle picking, faster accurate alignment, proper mask generation, appropriate map sharpening, and understanding the amount of data needed to reach a desired resolution.