Efficient Extraction of Macromolecular Complexes from Electron Tomograms Based on Reduced Representation Templates

  • Xiao-Ping Xu
  • Christopher Page
  • Niels VolkmannEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9256)


Electron tomography is the most widely applicable method for obtaining 3D information by electron microscopy. In the field of biology it has been realized that electron tomography is capable of providing a complete, molecular resolution three-dimensional mapping of entire proteoms. However, to realize this goal, information needs to be extracted efficiently from these tomograms. Owing to extremely low signal-to-noise ratios, this task is mostly carried out manually. Standard template matching approaches tend to generate large amounts of false positives. We developed an alternative method for feature extraction in biological electron tomography based on reduced representation templates, approximating the search model by a small number of anchor points used to calculate the scoring function. Using this approach we see a reduction of about 50% false positives with matched-filter approaches to below 5%. At the same time, false negatives stay below 5%, thus essentially matching the performance one would expect from human operators.


Electron tomography Feature extraction Template matching Reduced representation Cellualar tomography Biological systems Ribosomes Actin filaments 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao-Ping Xu
    • 1
  • Christopher Page
    • 1
  • Niels Volkmann
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Sanford-Burnham Medical Research InstituteLa JollaUSA

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