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Using statistical image detection methods from astronomy and neuroimaging for cryo-EM density interpretation

PhD student Max Beckers from EMBL Heidelberg and visiting PhD student at the ER-C-3 developed a new tool for cryo-EM density interpretation based on false-discovery-rate (FDR) control. The corresponding publication appeared in International Union of Crystallography Journal (IUCrJ) and was highlighted in the Scientific Commentaries section.

FDRthresholdingFigure 1: FDRthresholding is a new cryo-EM density analysis tool that was just published in IUCrJ and was highlighted in a corresponding Scientific Commentary section. The software is available for the scientific community.
Copyright: Maximilian Beckers/Carsten Sachse

Statistical thresholding and FDR control is a far-reaching concept from statistics, which is widely used in disciplines of neuroimaging and astronomy that belong to a group of image analysis disciplines dealing with noisy image data.

The significance analysis provides a general tool to compare different cryo-EM structures using a common objective threshold by including the defined map detection error criterion of “false discovery rate” with respect to background noise. These beneficial properties make confidence maps very useful for analyzing density quality and assist in model building in particular for the interpretation of weaker and ambiguous density features

The software is available to the scientific community and includes a tutorial.

Scientific Commentary: "Interpreting the cryo-EM map" by Peter B. Rosenthal

Original Publication:

Maximilian Beckers, Arjen J. Jakobi, Carsten Sachse
Thresholding of cryo-EM density maps by false discovery rate control, 2019 IUCr Journal 6 (1).