A complete data processing workflow for cryo-ET and subtomogram averaging

Nat Methods. 2019 Nov;16(11):1161-1168. doi: 10.1038/s41592-019-0591-8. Epub 2019 Oct 14.


Electron cryotomography is currently the only method capable of visualizing cells in three dimensions at nanometer resolutions. While modern instruments produce massive amounts of tomography data containing extremely rich structural information, data processing is very labor intensive and the results are often limited by the skills of the personnel rather than the data. We present an integrated workflow that covers the entire tomography data processing pipeline, from automated tilt series alignment to subnanometer resolution subtomogram averaging. Resolution enhancement is made possible through the use of per-particle per-tilt contrast transfer function correction and alignment. The workflow greatly reduces human bias, increases throughput and more closely approaches data-limited resolution for subtomogram averaging in both purified macromolecules and cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cryoelectron Microscopy / methods*
  • Electronic Data Processing / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Workflow*