Infoscience

Journal article

Structural database resources for biological macromolecules

This Briefing reviews the widely used, currently active, up-to-date databases derived from the worldwide Protein Data Bank (PDB) to facilitate browsing, finding and exploring its entries. These databases contain visualization and analysis tools tailored to specific kinds of molecules and interactions, often including also complex metrics precomputed by experts or external programs, and connections to sequence and functional annotation databases. Importantly, updates of most of these databases involves steps of curation and error checks based on specific expertise about the subject molecules or interactions, and removal of sequence redundancy, both leading to better data sets for mining studies compared with the full list of raw PDB entries. The article presents the databases in groups such as those aimed to facilitate browsing through PDB entries, their molecules and their general information, those built to link protein structure with sequence and dynamics, those specific for transmembrane proteins, nucleic acids, interactions of biomacromolecules with each other and with small molecules or metal ions, and those concerning specific structural features or specific protein families. A few webservers directly connected to active databases, and a few databases that have been discontinued but would be important to have back, are also briefly commented on. Along the Briefing, sample cases where these databases have been used to aid structural studies or advance our knowledge about biological macromolecules are referenced. A few specific examples are also given where using these databases is easier and more informative than using raw PDB data.

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