Approaches to the recovery of three-dimensional information on a biological object, which are often formulated or implemented initially in an intuitive way, are concisely described here based on physical models of the object and the image-formation process. Both three-dimensional electron microscopy and X-ray tomography can be captured in the same mathematical framework, leading to closely-related computational approaches, but the methodologies differ in detail and hence pose different challenges. The editors of this volume, Gabor T. Herman and Joachim Frank, are experts in the respective methodologies and present research at the forefront of biological imaging and structural biology.
Together with my co-authors Gabor T. Herman and T. Yung Kong, we have chapter titled “Using Component Trees to Explore Biological Structures” inpress in this book. The abstract is reproduced bellow:
“An understanding of the three-dimensional structure of a macromolecular complex is essential to fully understand its function. This chapter introduces the reader to the concept of a component tree, which is a compact representation of the structural properties of a multidimensional image (such as a molecular density map of a biological specimen), and then presents ongoing research on the use of such component trees in interactive tools for exploring biological structures. Com- ponent trees capture essential structural information about a biological specimen, irrespective of the process that was used to obtain an image of the specimen and the resolution of that image. We present various scenarios in which component trees can help in the exploration of the structure of a macromolecular complex. In addition, we discuss ideas for a docking methodology that uses component trees.”