Protein crystallography: alive and well

FEBS J. 2021 Oct;288(20):5786-5787. doi: 10.1111/febs.15822. Epub 2021 Mar 24.


The motto of this Virtual Issue of The FEBS Journal is a paraphrase of the statement made in 1897 by Mark Twain, which is usually quoted as 'Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated'. With the incredible progress in the utilization of cryo-EM for the determination of high-resolution macromolecular structures that led to the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, and Richard Henderson in 2017, it became a common assumption that crystallography was dead. However, as this Virtual Issue should show very clearly, that is emphatically not the case. To put the current relative importance of different technologies of determination of macromolecular structures into perspective, 78% of structures deposited in the Protein Data Bank since January 2020 were still determined by X-ray crystallography. The reasons why that is the case will be clear after reading the papers gathered here.

Keywords: protein crystallography; protein structures; structural methodology.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Introductory Journal Article

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crystallography, X-Ray / methods*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Proteins / chemistry*


  • Proteins