Protein Structure Modeling from Cryo-EM Map Using MAINMAST and MAINMAST-GUI Plugin

Methods Mol Biol. 2020:2165:317-336. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0708-4_19.


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 .

Keywords: Cryo-EM; De novo modeling; Graph theory; MAINMAST; Minimum spanning tree; Protein structure modeling.

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 / methods*
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation*
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Software*