Review abstract

Nature Methods 7, S42 - S55 (2010)

Visualization of macromolecular structures

Seán I O'Donoghue1, David S Goodsell2, Achilleas S Frangakis3, Fabrice Jossinet4, Roman A Laskowski5, Michael Nilges6, Helen R Saibil7, Andrea Schafferhans1, Rebecca C Wade8, Eric Westhof4 & Arthur J Olson2

Structural biology is rapidly accumulating a wealth of detailed information about protein function, binding sites, RNA, large assemblies and molecular motions. These data are increasingly of interest to a broader community of life scientists, not just structural experts. Visualization is a primary means for accessing and using these data, yet visualization is also a stumbling block that prevents many life scientists from benefiting from three-dimensional structural data. In this review, we focus on key biological questions where visualizing three-dimensional structures can provide insight and describe available methods and tools.

  1. European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.
  2. The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA.
  3. Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany.
  4. Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.
  5. European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge, UK.
  6. Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.
  7. Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, Birkbeck College, London, UK.
  8. Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Sciences (HITS), Heidelberg, Germany.

Correspondence to: Seán I O'Donoghue1 e-mail:


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