This document provides some basic information about an important, free resource for viewing biological molecules – the Protein Data Bank or PDB. The PDB is a website where people who have solved structures of biological molecules (proteins, nucleic acids, etc.) can deposit their data for the public to examine. While the PDB has many, many different features, this document focuses on ways for new users to get started with this resource and provides examples of exercises I have asked students to do in my biochemistry and bioinorganic courses.
The goal of this Learning Object is to provide the resources necessary to find a molecule on the PDB website, understand what information is provided, use one of the viewing programs to explore the structure of the molecule, and generate their own pictures of the structure.