Exploring protein symmetry at the RCSB Protein Data Bank

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The symmetry of biological molecules has fascinated structural biologists ever since the structure of hemoglobin was determined. The Protein Data Bank (PDB) archive is the central global archive of three-dimensional (3D), atomic-level structures of biomolecules, providing open access to the results of structural biology research with no limitations on usage. Roughly 40% of the structures in the archive exhibit some type of symmetry, including formal global symmetry, local symmetry, or pseudosymmetry. The Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB) Protein Data Bank (founding member of the Worldwide Protein Data Bank partnership that jointly manages, curates, and disseminates the archive) provides a variety of tools to assist users interested in exploring the symmetry of biological macromolecules. These tools include multiple modalities for searching and browsing the archive, turnkey methods for biomolecular visualization, documentation, and outreach materials for exploring functional biomolecular symmetry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-243
Number of pages13
JournalEmerging topics in life sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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