Protein Data Bank goes global

November 21, 2003

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The Protein Data Bank (PDB), an international resource for biomedical research with facilities at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, became the focus of an international collaborative agreement today. The agreement establishes the Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB) and, in doing so, ensures a single, uniform and enduring archive of 3-dimensional models of biological structures, proteins specifically. An announcement of the agreement appears in the December issue of Nature Structural Biology.

"The PDB is an important tool for biomedical and pharmaceutical researchers and a critical asset to 21st century genomic research and drug design," said Rutgers Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Helen M. Berman, director of the Protein Data Bank. "The agreement ensures and simplifies access to this important source of information for researchers worldwide."

The archived structures represent an increasingly large fraction of all the molecules of life - ones that will interact with new drugs being designed. These large molecular structures are determined by the most modern experimental methods, including X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy and cryoelectron microscopy.

The Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB), of which Rutgers is a member; the Macromolecular Structure Database at the European Bioinformatics Institute (MSD-EBI); and the Protein Data Bank Japan (PDBj) are signatories to the new agreement. They will be equal partners in managing the data bank, and each will maintain sites through which new protein data may be deposited and processed. The processed data will be forwarded to the RCSB and entered into a data bank archive by the RCSB - the "archive keeper" with sole direct access to the database and control over its directory structure and contents.

Prior to the agreement, RCSB members - Rutgers, the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego and the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology of the National Institute of Standards and Technology - managed the PDB. The data bank contains more than 23,000 structures, a number that has been growing exponentially. The PDB is supported by funds from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health.

Rutgers University

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