Kojima, R. & Yoshidome, T. A measure for the identification of preferred particle orientations in cryo-electron microscopy data: A simulation study. Biophysics and physicobiology, 2021, 18, 96-107
Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is an important experimental technique for the structural analysis of biomolecules that are difficult or impossible to crystallize. The three-dimensional structure of a biomolecule can be reconstructed using two-dimensional electron-density maps, which are experimentally sampled via the electron beam irradiation of vitreous ice in which the target biomolecules are embedded. One assumption required for this reconstruction is that the orientation of the biomolecules in the vitreous ice is isotropic. However, this is not always the case and two-dimensional electron-density maps are often sampled using preferred biomolecular orientations, which can make reconstruction difficult or impossible. Compensation for under-represented views is computationally feasible for the reconstruction of three-dimensional electron density maps, but one must know whether or not there is any missing information in the sampled two-dimensional electron density maps. Thus, a measure to identify whether a cryo-EM data is obtained from the biomolecules adopting preferred orientations is required. In the present study, we propose a measure for which the geometry of manifold projected onto a low-dimensional space is used. To show the usefulness of the measure, we perform simulations for cryo-EM experiment of a protein. It is found that the geometry of manifold projected onto a two-dimensional space for a protein adopting a preferred biomolecular orientation is significantly different from that for a protein adopting a uniform orientation. This result suggests that the geometry of manifold projected onto a low-dimensional space can be used for the measure for the identification that the biomolecules adopt preferred orientations.