Principles of cryo-EM single-particle image processing

Microscopy (Oxf). 2016 Feb;65(1):57-67. doi: 10.1093/jmicro/dfv370. Epub 2015 Dec 24.


Single-particle reconstruction is the process by which 3D density maps are obtained from a set of low-dose cryo-EM images of individual macromolecules. This review considers the fundamental principles of this process and the steps in the overall workflow for single-particle image processing. Also considered are the limits that image signal-to-noise ratio places on resolution and the distinguishing of heterogeneous particle populations.

Keywords: 3D reconstruction; SNR; noise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cryoelectron Microscopy / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Macromolecular Substances / analysis*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio


  • Macromolecular Substances