Convolutional neural networks for automated annotation of cellular cryo-electron tomograms

Nat Methods. 2017 Oct;14(10):983-985. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.4405. Epub 2017 Aug 28.


Cellular electron cryotomography offers researchers the ability to observe macromolecules frozen in action in situ, but a primary challenge with this technique is identifying molecular components within the crowded cellular environment. We introduce a method that uses neural networks to dramatically reduce the time and human effort required for subcellular annotation and feature extraction. Subsequent subtomogram classification and averaging yield in situ structures of molecular components of interest. The method is available in the EMAN2.2 software package.

MeSH terms

  • Cryopreservation*
  • Cyanobacteria / ultrastructure*
  • Electron Microscope Tomography / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Software