Structural Biology - December 2012
It is impossible to imagine a biochemistry journal that would not devote a significant fraction of its pages to description of macromolecular structures and, indeed, many non-structural papers also rely very much on the availability of structural data. That has not always been the case – after all, protein crystallography is just over 50 years old, it has been less than 35 years since the first protein structure was determined by NMR, and high-resolution electron microscopy applications are even more recent. However, the number of macromolecular structures deposited in the Protein Data Bank (PDB) now approaches 90,000 and other repositories contain structures obtained by NMR, electron microscopy, or molecular modelling.
FEBS Journal has been traditionally publishing many structural papers and this Virtual Issue highlights the original work published here in 2012. As special anchors we present four reviews aimed at non-specialists that describe the main techniques used in the determination of high-resolution protein structures. A vast majority of the structures presented in the original articles were solved using molecular replacement with models based on related proteins. Although these structures may not be truly novel, they are often very important, since they can elucidate enzymatic properties through analysis of inhibitor binding, compare related proteins from several species with the aim of creating selective inhibitors, or explain the biophysical properties such as thermostability or cold adaptation. Such results are crucial in both enhancing our understanding of the ways protein fold and work, as well as in practical applications such as drug design.
Some structures published here are still solved from scratch through the application of methods such as isomorphous replacement or anomalous scattering, and they represent proteins with less well studied folds. NMR was used for the determination of novel structures, for investigation of dynamic properties of macromolecules, and for elucidating intermolecular interactions. What is not shown in this Virtual Issue are many papers (actually, a fairly large fraction of all papers published in this journal) that contain figures showing protein structures that are used to interpret a variety of biological, biochemical, or biophysical data, although these papers do not report structural studies at all.
The fact that the availability of structural data is now taken completely for granted and that such structures are routinely used for interpretation of a wide range of phenomena testifies to the success of the last 50-odd years of the modern techniques of structure determination.
- State-of-the-Art Reviews
- Discovery-in-Context Reviews
- Structural Snapshots
- All Free Review Content
- Editor's Choice
- Minireview Series
- Special Issues
- Virtual Issues
- Press Releases from The FEBS Journal
- The FEBS Journal Richard Perham Prize
- The FEBS Journal Talk and Poster Prizes
- FEBS Congress abstracts
- Congratulations to Antoinette Fong, Diego Estrada-Rivadeneyra and V Mitheera for winning our 50th Anniversary Science Communication Competition! Take a look at their entertaining, educational entries.
- Our Special Issue on Malaria is out!
Check out these excellent reviews and primary research articles covering the latest advances in malaria research
- Our Special Issue on Proteases and Proteolysis in Health and Disease is out! Check out these excellent reviews that cover a broad range of topics in this field
- The winner of the 2017 Richard Perham Prize has been announced - congratulations to Sebastian Bittner of University Hospital of Regensburg, Germany! Read his winning paper.
- Check out our Special Issue on CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing!
Nine free reviews cover topics from the initial discovery of CRISPR in bacteria to designing guide RNAs...
- The FEBS Journal Special Issue on Cell Death Control is out!
The thirteen specially commissioned reviews from experts in the field cover a broad spectrum of topics.