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May 15, 2005 (Vol. 25, No. 10)

Database of Macromolecular Movements

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Take a crystallographic image of a macromolecule in one form. Recrystalize it and obtain its image in another form. Repeat a few times and you will build up a set of images of depicting several fixed forms of the protein. Then, using computational tools to interpolate intermediate structures between each image defined as an 'endpoint,' one can build a movie of macromolecular motion that can be readily viewed. That's the idea behind the Database of Macromolecular Movements which grows with leaps and bounds as increasing numbers of molecular structures are being solved. Visitors can locate desired movies by browsing, searching, or sorting. In addition, the site provides morphing services to interpolate between any two protein conformations. Structure analysis programs are also available for download . An outstanding resource for structural biologists.
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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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