Vant, John W. / Sarkar, Daipayan / Nguyen, Jonathan / Baker, Alexander T. / Vermaas, Josh V. / Singharoy, Abhishek. Exploring cryo-electron microscopy with molecular dynamics. 2022-02. Biochemical Society transactions, Vol. 50, p. 569-581
Single particle analysis cryo-electron microscopy (EM) and molecular dynamics (MD) have been complimentary methods since cryo-EM was first applied to the field of structural biology. The relationship started by biasing structural models to fit low-resolution cryo-EM maps of large macromolecular complexes not amenable to crystallization. The connection between cryo-EM and MD evolved as cryo-EM maps improved in resolution, allowing advanced sampling algorithms to simultaneously refine backbone and sidechains. Moving beyond a single static snapshot, modern inferencing approaches integrate cryo-EM and MD to generate structural ensembles from cryo-EM map data or directly from the particle images themselves. We summarize the recent history of MD innovations in the area of cryo-EM modeling. The merits for the myriad of MD based cryo-EM modeling methods are discussed, as well as, the discoveries that were made possible by the integration of molecular modeling with cryo-EM. Lastly, current challenges and potential opportunities are reviewed.