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Hand-held Models of Proteins

The opportunity exists for the PDB, thanks to the National Science Foundation sponsored TeleManufacturing Facility at the San Diego Supercomputer Center directed by Mike Bailey, to produce and distribute free approximately six solid models of proteins each week. The sturdy models produced on a rapid prototyping device are approximately 4-6 inches3 and show good surface detail (see the examples). The process and results for studying virus assemblies and light harvesting complexes were described in Bailey, Schulten, and Johnson, Current Opinions in Structural Biology 8(2), 202-208 (1998). The models are constructed from a surface representation produced from programs like Grasp (or in this case, the UNC SURF program and VMD). It is only necessary to provide a PDB id or Cartesian coordinates in PDB format for the model to be constructed.

We are interested in your feedback on the appropriate models to make and for whom.

Input to the following questions is sought.

  1. Would you find such models useful? If so why?
  2. Should we provide models to:
    - instructors of credited courses? or
    - structure depositors who deposit a protein with a potentially new fold? or
    - specific requests justified by a description of why a good model of the surface is important?
  3. What proteins do you see as particularly good candidates?
  4. Other comments?

Please reply to the PDB discussion list.

Here are live camera shots of the TeleManufacturing Facility.