Short talk:
TomoTwin: Generalized 3D localization of macromolecules in cryo-electron tomograms

Gavin Rice1, Thorsten Wagner1, Markus Stabrin1, Stefan Raunser1

1Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany

Cryoelectron tomography enables the visualization of cellular environments in extreme detail through the lens of a benign observer; what remains lacking however are tools to analyze the full amount of information contained within these densely packed volumes. Detailed analysis of macromolecules through subtomogram averaging requires particles to first be localized within the tomogram volume, a task complicated by several factors including a low signal to noise ratio and crowding of the cellular space. Available methods for this task suffer either from being error prone or requiring manual annotation of training data. To assist in this crucial particle picking step, we present TomoTwin: a robust, first in class general picking model for cryo-electron tomograms based on deep metric learning. By embedding tomograms in an information-rich, high-dimensional space which separates macromolecules according to their 3-dimensional structure, TomoTwin allows users to identify proteins in tomograms de novo without manually creating training data or retraining the network each time a new protein is to be located. TomoTwin is open source and available at

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