Toader, Bogdan / Sigworth, Fred J. / Lederman, Roy R. Methods for Cryo-EM single particle reconstruction of macromolecules having continuous heterogeneity. 2023. J. Molecular Biology, Vol. 435, No. 9, p. 168020
Macromolecules change their shape (conformation) in the process of carrying out their functions. The imaging by cryo-electron microscopy of rapidly-frozen, individual copies of macromolecules (single particles) is a powerful and general approach to understanding the motions and energy landscapes of macromolecules. Widely-used computational methods already allow the recovery of a few distinct conformations from heterogeneous single-particle samples, but the treatment of complex forms of heterogeneity such as the continuum of possible transitory states and flexible regions remains largely an open problem. In recent years there has been a surge of new approaches for treating the more general problem of continuous heterogeneity. This paper surveys the current state of the art in this area.