Spectral Signal-to-Noise Ratio and Resolution Assessment of 3D Reconstructions

Measuring the quality of three-dimensional (3D) reconstructed biological macromolecules by transmission electron microscopy is still an open problem. In this article, we extend the applicability of the spectral signal-to-noise ratio (SSNR) to the evaluation of 3D volumes reconstructed with any reconstruction algorithm. The basis of the method is to measure the consistency between the data and a corresponding set of reprojections computed for the reconstructed 3D map. The idiosyncrasies of the reconstruction algorithm are taken explicitly into account by performing a noise-only reconstruction. This results in the definition of a 3D SSNR which provides an objective indicator of the quality of the 3D reconstruction. Furthermore, the information to build the SSNR can be used to produce a volumetric SSNR (VSSNR). Our method overcomes the need to divide the data set in two. It also provides a direct measure of the performance of the reconstruction algorithm itself; this latter information is typically not available with the standard resolution methods which are primarily focused on reproducibility alone.

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Journal of Structural Biology, 149, 3, 243–255
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 Record created 2005-11-30, last modified 2018-10-07

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