Protein structure modeling is a fundamental step for the structural interpretation of 3D electron microscopy (EM) density map. Recently, because of the significant progress of the cryo-EM technique, protein structure modeling tools are needed for EM maps determined around 4 Å resolution. At this rear atomic resolution, finding main-chain structure and assigning the amino acid sequence into EM map are still challenging problems. We have developed a de novo modeling tool named MAINMAST for EM maps at near-atomic resolution (~4.5 Å). MAINMAST can trace the backbone structure of a protein from an EM density map directory. We also developed a Graphical User Interface (GUI) plugin of MAINMAST for the UCSF Chimera so that users can monitor structures at each step of a modeling procedure. In this chapter, we demonstrate two examples of the use of MAINMAST software and MAINMAST-GUI to build protein structure model from an EM density map. MAINMAST software and MAINMAST-GUI plugin are freely available for academic users at http://kiharalab.org/mainmast/index.html .
Keywords: Cryo-EM; De novo modeling; Graph theory; MAINMAST; Minimum spanning tree; Protein structure modeling.