Structural biology data archiving - where we are and what lies ahead

FEBS Lett. 2018 Jun;592(12):2153-2167. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.13086. Epub 2018 May 25.


For almost 50 years, structural biology has endeavoured to conserve and share its experimental data and their interpretations (usually, atomistic models) through global public archives such as the Protein Data Bank, Electron Microscopy Data Bank and Biological Magnetic Resonance Data Bank (BMRB). These archives are treasure troves of freely accessible data that document our quest for molecular or atomic understanding of biological function and processes in health and disease. They have prepared the field to tackle new archiving challenges as more and more (combinations of) techniques are being utilized to elucidate structure at ever increasing length scales. Furthermore, the field has made substantial efforts to develop validation methods that help users to assess the reliability of structures and to identify the most appropriate data for their needs. In this Review, we present an overview of public data archives in structural biology and discuss the importance of validation for users and producers of structural data. Finally, we sketch our efforts to integrate structural data with bioimaging data and with other sources of biological data. This will make relevant structural information available and more easily discoverable for a wide range of scientists.

Keywords: bioimaging; data archiving; structural biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Data Curation / methods*
  • Databases, Protein
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Conformation
  • Proteins / chemistry*


  • Proteins