FireDB: a compendium of biological and pharmacologically relevant ligands

Nucleic Acids Res. 2014 Jan;42(Database issue):D267-72. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt1127. Epub 2013 Nov 15.


FireDB ( is a curated inventory of catalytic and biologically relevant small ligand-binding residues culled from the protein structures in the Protein Data Bank. Here we present the important new additions since the publication of FireDB in 2007. The database now contains an extensive list of manually curated biologically relevant compounds. Biologically relevant compounds are informative because of their role in protein function, but they are only a small fraction of the entire ligand set. For the remaining ligands, the FireDB provides cross-references to the annotations from publicly available biological, chemical and pharmacological compound databases. FireDB now has external references for 95% of contacting small ligands, making FireDB a more complete database and providing the scientific community with easy access to the pharmacological annotations of PDB ligands. In addition to the manual curation of ligands, FireDB also provides insights into the biological relevance of individual binding sites. Here, biological relevance is calculated from the multiple sequence alignments of related binding sites that are generated from all-against-all comparison of each FireDB binding site. The database can be accessed by RESTful web services and is available for download via MySQL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Catalytic Domain*
  • Databases, Protein*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Internet
  • Ligands
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / genetics


  • Ligands
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Proteins