|Journal of Structural Biology (2013) 182:173-85|
|Transcontinental EM Initiative for Membrane Proteins|
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Electron crystallography of two-dimensional crystals allows the structural study of membrane proteins in their native environment, the lipid bilayer. ...
Determining the structure of a membrane protein at near-atomic resolution by electron crystallography remains, however, a very labor-intense and time-consuming task. To simplify and accelerate the data processing aspect of electron crystallography, we implemented a pipeline for the processing of electron diffraction data using the Image Processing Library and Toolbox (IPLT), which provides a modular, flexible, integrated, and extendable cross-platform, open-source framework for image processing. The diffraction data processing pipeline is organized as several independent modules implemented in Python. The modules can be accessed either from a graphical user interface or through a command line interface, thus meeting the needs of both novice and expert users. The low-level image processing algorithms are implemented in C++ to achieve optimal processing performance, and their interface is exported to Python using a wrapper. For enhanced performance, the Python processing modules are complemented with a central data managing facility that provides a caching infrastructure. The validity of our data processing algorithms was verified by processing a set of aquaporin-0 diffraction patterns with the IPLT pipeline and comparing the resulting merged data set with that obtained by processing the same diffraction patterns with the classical set of MRC programs.
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