TomoSim: Simulation of Filamentous Cryo-Electron Tomograms

Proceedings (IEEE Int Conf Bioinformatics Biomed). 2021 Dec:2021:2560-2565. doi: 10.1109/bibm52615.2021.9669370.


As automated filament tracing algorithms in cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) continue to improve, the validation of these approaches has become more incumbent. Having a known ground truth on which to base predictions is crucial to reliably test predicted cytoskeletal filaments because the detailed structure of the filaments in experimental tomograms is obscured by a low resolution, as well as by noise and missing Fourier space wedge artifacts. We present a software tool for the realistic simulation of tomographic maps (TomoSim) based on a known filament trace. The parameters of the simulated map are automatically matched to those of a corresponding experimental map. We describe the computational details of the first prototype of our approach, which includes wedge masking in Fourier space, noise color, and signal-to-noise matching. We also discuss current and potential future applications of the approach in the validation of concurrent filament tracing methods in cryo-ET.