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Sep 15, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 16)

Molecules to Go

URL:molbio.info.nih.gov/cgi-bin/pdb
  • Valuable tools for the analysis of protein structure
  • Additional downloads required for some viewing options

Hold the pickles, extra onions…Now, even your molecular images can be made-to-order, thanks to this NIH resource. Molecules to Go (a site formerly named Molecules R Us, but changed after a certain toy company had a problem with that) allows users to view Protein Data Bank (PDB) files in the format that they please. This includes, among others, the standard ball-and-stick and space-filling images, a hydrogen-bond map, a text file of torsion information, and a motif map. (Do you want fries with that?) In addition to retrieving information from the PDB, this website utilizes other databases and programs to generate the various types of information. Some of the viewing options require that the user download some of the freely available molecular graphics programs like RasMol. The Instructions page succinctly describes the different structure formats from which the user can select.

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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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