Citing the Protein Data Bank

Several users of the PDB have recently asked what is the best way to cite structures that they have obtained from the PDB. In the same time-frame, some members of the crystallographic community have also expressed the concern that when a structure is downloaded from the PDB for analysis, it is sometimes the PDB rather than the workers who were responsible for the original structure determination that is referenced.

We share these concerns and have provided the following guidelines (also available at for citing structures downloaded from the PDB:

The contents of PDB are in the public domain, but it is expected that the authors of an entry as well as the PDB be properly cited whenever their work is referred to. Structures used from the PDB should be cited with the PDB id and the JRNL reference.

For example, structure 102l should be referenced as:

PDB ID: 102l.
D.W.Heinz, W.A.Baase, F.W.Dahlquist, B.W.Matthews, "How Amino-Acid Insertions are Allowed in an Alpha-Helix of T4 Lysozyme," Nature, 361 (1993): 561.

The Brookhaven National Laboratory PDB should be referenced:

F.C.Bernstein, T.F.Koetzle, G.J.Williams, E.E.Meyer Jr., M.D.Brice, J.R.Rodgers, O.Kennard, T.Shimanouchi, M.Tasumi, "The Protein Data Bank: A Computer-based Archival File For Macromolecular Structures," J. of. Mol. Biol., 112 (1977): 535.

The Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics PDB should be referenced with the Web address: