MAINMASTseg: Automated Map Segmentation Method for Cryo-EM Density Maps with Symmetry

J Chem Inf Model. 2020 May 26;60(5):2634-2643. doi: 10.1021/acs.jcim.9b01110. Epub 2020 Mar 30.


For structural interpretation of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) density maps that contain multiple chains, map segmentation is an important step. If a map is segmented accurately into regions of individual protein components, the structure of each protein can be separately modeled using an existing modeling tool. Here, we developed new software, MAINMASTseg, for segmenting maps with symmetry. MAINMASTseg is an extension of the MAINMAST de novo cryo-EM protein structure modeling tool, which builds protein structures from a graph structure that captures the distribution of salient density points in the map. MAINMASTseg uses this graph and segments the map by considering symmetry corresponding density points in the graph. We tested MAINMASTseg on a data set of 38 experimentally determined EM density maps. MAINMASTseg successfully identified an individual protein unit for the majority of the maps, which was significantly better than two other popular existing methods, Segger and Phenix. The software is made freely available for academic users at

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Protein Conformation
  • Proteins*
  • Software*


  • Proteins