In macromolecular X-ray crystallography, building more accurate atomic models based on lower resolution experimental diffraction data remains a great challenge. Previous studies have used a deformable elastic network (DEN) model to aid in low-resolution structural refinement. In this study, the development of a new refinement algorithm called the deformable complex network (DCN) is reported that combines a novel angular network-based restraint with the DEN model in the target function. Testing of DCN on a wide range of low-resolution structures demonstrated that it constantly leads to significantly improved structural models as judged by multiple refinement criteria, thus representing a new effective refinement tool for low-resolution structural determination.
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