Year 2016 News Articles

2016 High School Video Challenge: Structural Biology and Diabetes


For the third year, RCSB PDB invites all high school students to create short videos that tell a molecular story of health and disease. This year's focus is the structural view of sugar metabolism and its complications leading to diabetes. To get started, teams are encouraged to use PDB-101 materials related to diabetes and molecular visualization.

Videos may be submitted from March 8 - May 29, 2016. Award winners will be announced on June 14, 2016.

For more information, sign up for the Video Challenge Monthly Newsletter or visit the challenge webpage.

Insulin in action: View of insulin (white oval) and and related signaling proteins in the cell.

Many resources are offered to help students get started, including a paper model of insulin.

Protein Modeling at the Science Olympiad


Protein modeling is one of several competitive events taking place at Science Olympiad tournaments across the country and in the National events in May. Teams are recognized for their performance in individual events and in the overall tournament.

In protein modeling, teams of high school students demonstrate their understanding of protein structure and function by building 3D models. The theme of this year's event, designed by MSOE and RCSB PDB, is focused on biosynthesis and subsequent signaling of dopamine and serotonin.

RCSB PDB recently judged ~100 models in regional competitions in New Jersey, and will also participate in the February San Diego Regional event.

Many thanks to the RCSB PDB judges, the NJ Science Olympiad organizers and volunteers, and the host colleges (Camden County, Union County, and NJIT).

We look forward to seeing the teams at the NJ state finals in March!

Related materials for protein modeling preparation are hosted by MSOE and RCSB PDB.

Teams are scored on protein models built in advance, smaller models built during the competition, and a written examTeams are scored on protein models built in advance, smaller models built during the competition, and a written exam.

Molecular Explorations Through Biology and Medicine


The online portal PDB-101 is aimed at teachers, students, and the general public to promote molecular explorations through biology and medicine. This website ("101", as in an entry-level course) presents introductory materials that introduce beginners to the structures of proteins and nucleic acids contained in the PDB archive.

The PDB-101 resource has been reorganized to provide better access to curricular materials, paper models, Molecule of the Month articles, and other materials developed by the RCSB PDB. Users can search the website for related materials using molecule name or keyword. The Browse option can be used to explore available PDB-101 resources organized by topics such as immune system and renewable energy.

2016 Calendar Cover
A new calendar highlighting protein-drug complexes in the PDB archive is available for download in PDF (4 MB) and PowerPoint (20 MB) formats from PDB-101.

Winter Newsletter Published


The Winter 2016 issue of the RCSB PDB Newsletter is now available.

Articles highlight 2015 statistics, the new wwPDB Deposition Tool, RCSB PDB's 2016 protein-drug calendar, website features for query and analysis, and more.

In this issue's Education Corner, CCDC's Amy Sarjeant describes Using 815,527 Crystal Structures to Teach Chemistry: The Cambridge Structural Database.

RCSB PDB's Newsletter is published and archived online. Sign up to receive electronic updates each quarter.

Deposit 3DEM, NMR, and X-ray Structures with new Deposition Tool


Since January 2014, the new wwPDB Deposition & Annotation (D&A) system has been used to submit and annotate >12,000 X-ray structure depositions and to release >6,800 entries in the PDB archive.

The wwPDB has now expanded this system to support structures from 3DEM and NMR experiments.  The wwPDB D&A system interoperates with EMDB and BMRB to enable joint depositions of both atomic coordinates (PDB) and electron density maps (EMDB) or NMR experimental data (BMRB). Both PDB and EMDB/BMRB accession codes will be issued simultaneously after the entry is deposited.

Visit for more information on this new D&A system.

A Year in Protein-Drug Complexes


Year 2016 Calender Cover

A new calendar highlighting protein-drug complexes in the PDB archive is available for download in PDF (4 MB) and PowerPoint (20 MB) formats.

Proteins are tiny molecular machines. While not visible with the naked eye, their structures and functions can be investigated and understood through various experimental methods. Proteins perform many of the tasks needed to support living cells. Illnesses, such as cancer, can occur when they are prevented from performing their normal jobs. Other ailments are caused when foreign proteins (such as from bacteria or viruses) interfere with ours. Most drugs are small chemicals, even smaller than proteins, that work by binding to target proteins and modifying their actions within our cells. Other drugs are modified proteins that can take the place of improperly operating native proteins.

Some of our most powerful anticancer drugs completely disable an essential molecular machine, without which the cell cannot survive. These drugs kill cancer cells outright. Other drugs, such as cholesterol lowering agents, blunt the action of less-critical proteins to benefit patients.

We know a great deal about how drugs work because scientists in academe and the pharmaceutical industry are able to examine drug-protein complexes at the level of individual atoms. These three-dimensional (3D) atomic structures allow us to see how drugs bind to their protein targets in exquisite detail. Frequently, these structures suggest ways to modify the structure of the drug to better fit the target protein, either to improve efficacy or to reduce the likelihood of side effects.  These structures of proteins and drugs highlighted in this calendar, along with many others, can be explored using the RCSB PDB.

A few printed copies are available; please email to request a copy.