Outreach and Education

In 2013, PDB-101 released its first molecular animation, What is a Protein? Since then, that video has been viewed more than 450,000 times.

Since then, PDB-101 has published many more videos and animations, including How Enzymes Work? and A Molecular View of HIV Therapy.

Building upon the success of these new features, What is a Protein? has been updated and improved for 2017. Watch it now at PDB-101. Related What Is a Protein? Materials are also available for download from PDB-101.

PSI researchers explored the functional diversity of GPCR structures. For more information, see the highlight on G-Protein Coupled Receptors.

Each structure in the Protein Data Bank contributes to our greater understanding of biology and medicine.

Structural Biology Highlights hosted at PDB-101 explore some of the structures made possible by the Protein Structure Initiative (PSI) supported by the NIGMS from 2000-2015.

PSI researchers focused on accelerating discovery in structural genomics and contributing to understanding biological function. As a result, PSI efforts developed new technologies and methods that improved the process of protein structure determination and prediction.

Over its 15-year period, nearly 7000 PDB structures were determined. Many of these structural advances are highlighted in these Structural Biology Highlight articles (formerly called Featured Systems).

These articles, written by Molecule of the Month creator David S. Goodsell, originally appeared at the Structural Biology Knowledgebase website (SBKB.org) that served as an information portal for PSI structures, theoretical models, technologies, and related information.

The Structural Biology Knowledgebase: a portal to protein structures, sequences, functions, and methods. M. J. Gabanyi, P. D. Adams, K. Arnold, L. Bordoli, L. G. Carter, J. Flippen-Andersen, L. Gifford, J. Haas, A. Kouranov, W. A. McLaughlin, D. I. Micallef, W. Minor, R. Shah, T. Schwede, Y. P. Tao, J. D. Westbrook, M. Zimmerman, H. M. Berman. (2011) J Struct Funct Genomics 12: 45-54.

3D electron microscopy (3DEM) is revolutionizing the field of structural biology. Atomic structures of biomolecules are now being determined by 3DEM, due to recent advances in several key technologies, including methods for sample preservation, vastly improved microscopy optics and detectors, and novel methods for structure solution with advanced computing. Researchers are also taking an integrative approach, determining atomic structures of subunits with X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy, then using them to build a large assembly based on data from 3DEM. 3DEM is proving to be a perfect complement to X-ray and NMR techniques, since 3DEM is most effective on large, complex assemblies, which are typically difficult to study by other methods, and does not require large quantities of material, homogeneous samples, or crystallization.

Structures from 3DEM are made publicly available in the PDB archive to help further scientific research and education. The PDB released its first 3DEM entry in 1991, the ground-breaking structure of bacteriorhodopsin. Since then, more than 1700 3DEM structures have been made available in the PDB archive, with more than 1000 released from 2015-2017.

A new flyer highlights Nobel Prize-winning research in cryo-electron microscopy and other PDB structures determined using 3DEM. Download the PDF or explore the structures at PDB-101.


Use the PDB-101 Browser to access the "Biology of Plants" Category and more.

PDB-101 is an online portal developed by RCSB PDB for teachers, students, and the general public to promote exploration in the world of proteins and nucleic acids. PDB-101 features support learning about the diverse shapes and functions of these biological macromolecules and their relationship to biomedicine and agriculture, from protein synthesis to health and disease to biological energy.

PDB-101 can be searched by keyword or browsed by biological functions and themes. These categories range from You and Your Health to the Biology of Plants to Nobel Prizes and PDB structures. Browsing these categories helps users find corresponding Molecule of the Month articles and and other learning resources available at PDB-101.


Through a collaboration with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), which owns the Geis Archives, RCSB PDB hosts a digital archive of Geis' molecular art. This resource displays many of Geis' illustrations in the context of the corresponding PDB structures and related molecular information. Through this archive, these images are available for download for noncommercial usage.

Images used with permission from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (www.hhmi.org). All rights reserved.

Antibiotics have saved countless lives, but pathogens are quickly finding ways to survive antibiotic treatment. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are predicted to become the leading cause of death worldwide, with an expected death rate of 10 million people annually by 2050. They take many approaches: pumping antibiotics out of their cells, altering the molecular machinery that the antibiotics target, and attacking the antibiotics directly. Atomic structures publicly available in the PDB are revealing the details of drug resistance and providing new ways to combat it.

Some of these structures are in featured in the RCSB PDB's 2018 Calendar Mechanisms of Antimicrobial Resistance, available for download at PDB-101.

This calendar was created by the RCSB PDB and Jenna Abyad (Drew University) and Priscilla Salcedo (California State University, Northridge) as part of a summer internship with RCSB PDB.

PDB-101 offers many other materials focused on Antimicrobial Resistance.

  • Picturing Molecules at the RCSB Protein Data Bank (2017) SciArt Magazine June
  • RCSB Protein Data Bank: Sustaining a living digital data resource that enables breakthroughs in scientific research and biomedical education (2017) Protein Science doi: 10.1002/pro.3331
  • The RCSB protein data bank: integrative view of protein, gene and 3D structural information (2017) Nucleic Acids Research 45: D271-D281 doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw1000