Burt, A.; Gaifas, L.; Dendooven, T. & Gutsche, I. A flexible framework for multi-particle refinement in cryo-electron tomography. PLoS biology, 2021, 19, e3001319
Cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) and subtomogram averaging (STA) are increasingly used for macromolecular structure determination in situ. Here, we introduce a set of computational tools and resources designed to enable flexible approaches to STA through increased automation and simplified metadata handling. We create a bidirectional interface between the Dynamo software package and the Warp-Relion-M pipeline, providing a framework for ab initio and geometrical approaches to multiparticle refinement in M. We illustrate the power of working within this framework by applying it to EMPIAR-10164, a publicly available dataset containing immature HIV-1 virus-like particles (VLPs), and a challenging in situ dataset containing chemosensory arrays in bacterial minicells. Additionally, we provide a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to obtaining a 3.4-Å reconstruction from EMPIAR-10164. The guide is hosted on https://teamtomo.org/, a collaborative online platform we establish for sharing knowledge about cryo-ET.