Gaussian-input Gaussian mixture model for representing density maps and atomic models

J Struct Biol. 2018 Jul;203(1):1-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2018.03.002. Epub 2018 Mar 6.


A new Gaussian mixture model (GMM) has been developed for better representations of both atomic models and electron microscopy 3D density maps. The standard GMM algorithm employs an EM algorithm to determine the parameters. It accepted a set of 3D points with weights, corresponding to voxel or atomic centers. Although the standard algorithm worked reasonably well; however, it had three problems. First, it ignored the size (voxel width or atomic radius) of the input, and thus it could lead to a GMM with a smaller spread than the input. Second, the algorithm had a singularity problem, as it sometimes stopped the iterative procedure due to a Gaussian function with almost zero variance. Third, a map with a large number of voxels required a long computation time for conversion to a GMM. To solve these problems, we have introduced a Gaussian-input GMM algorithm, which considers the input atoms or voxels as a set of Gaussian functions. The standard EM algorithm of GMM was extended to optimize the new GMM. The new GMM has identical radius of gyration to the input, and does not suddenly stop due to the singularity problem. For fast computation, we have introduced a down-sampled Gaussian functions (DSG) by merging neighboring voxels into an anisotropic Gaussian function. It provides a GMM with thousands of Gaussian functions in a short computation time. We also have introduced a DSG-input GMM: the Gaussian-input GMM with the DSG as the input. This new algorithm is much faster than the standard algorithm.

Keywords: Atomic model; Electron microscopy; Expectation maximization algorithm; Fitting; Gaussian mixture model; Superposition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Computer Simulation
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Normal Distribution*