TomoTwin: generalized 3D localization of macromolecules in cryo-electron tomograms with structural data mining

Rice G, Wagner T, Stabrin M, Sitsel O, Prumbaum D, Raunser S. Nature Methods (2023)


Cryogenic-electron tomography enables the visualization of cellular environments in extreme detail, however, tools to analyze the full amount of information contained within these densely packed volumes are still needed. Detailed analysis of macromolecules through subtomogram averaging requires particles to first be localized within the tomogram volume, a task complicated by several factors including a low signal to noise ratio and crowding of the cellular space. Available methods for this task suffer either from being error prone or requiring manual annotation of training data. To assist in this crucial particle picking step, the Raunser lab presents TomoTwin: an open source general picking model for cryogenic-electron tomograms based on deep metric learning. By embedding tomograms in an information-rich, high-dimensional space that separates macromolecules according to their three-dimensional structure, TomoTwin allows users to identify proteins in tomograms de novo without manually creating training data or retraining the network to locate new proteins.

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