Overview of refinement procedures within REFMAC5: utilizing data from different sources

Acta Crystallogr D Struct Biol. 2018 Mar 1;74(Pt 3):215-227. doi: 10.1107/S2059798318000979. Epub 2018 Mar 2.


Refinement is a process that involves bringing into agreement the structural model, available prior knowledge and experimental data. To achieve this, the refinement procedure optimizes a posterior conditional probability distribution of model parameters, including atomic coordinates, atomic displacement parameters (B factors), scale factors, parameters of the solvent model and twin fractions in the case of twinned crystals, given observed data such as observed amplitudes or intensities of structure factors. A library of chemical restraints is typically used to ensure consistency between the model and the prior knowledge of stereochemistry. If the observation-to-parameter ratio is small, for example when diffraction data only extend to low resolution, the Bayesian framework implemented in REFMAC5 uses external restraints to inject additional information extracted from structures of homologous proteins, prior knowledge about secondary-structure formation and even data obtained using different experimental methods, for example NMR. The refinement procedure also generates the `best' weighted electron-density maps, which are useful for further model (re)building. Here, the refinement of macromolecular structures using REFMAC5 and related tools distributed as part of the CCP4 suite is discussed.

Keywords: LORESTR; NMR restraints; ProSMART; REFMAC5; refinement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Humans
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Software*


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Proteins