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The need for a shared database infrastructure: Combining X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy

AuthorsKalko, Susana Graciela; Chagoyen, Mónica; Jiménez-Lozano, Natalia; Verdaguer, Núria ; Fita, Ignacio ; Carazo, José M.
KeywordsElectron microscopy
Biological databases
X-ray crystallography
Issue Date2000
CitationEuropean Biophysics Journal 29(6): 457-462 (2000)
AbstractAdvances in structural biology are opening greater opportunities for understanding biological structures from the cellular to the atomic level. Particularly promising are the links that can be established between the information provided by electron microscopy and the atomic structures derived from X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Combining such different kinds of structural data can result in novel biological information on the interaction of biomolecules in large supramolecular assemblies. As a consequence, the need to develop new databases in the field of structural biology that allow for an integrated access to data from all the experimental techniques is becoming critical. Pilot studies performed in recent years have already established a solid background as far as the basic information that an integrated macromolecular structure database should contain, as well as the basic principles for integration. These efforts started in the context of the BioImage project, and resuited in a first complete database prototype that provided a versatile platform for the linking of atomic models or X-ray diffraction data with electron microscopy information. Analysis of the requirements needed to combine data at different levels of resolution have resulted in sets of specifications that make possible the integration of all these different types in the context of a web environment. The case of a structural stuffy linking electron microscopy and X-ray data, which is already contained within the BioImage data base and in the Protein Data Bank, is used here to illustrate the current approach, while a general discussion highlights the urgent need for integrated databases.
Identifiersissn: 0175-7571
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