September 1, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 15)
Strong Points: Easy access to research info
Weak Points: None
A modern view of a subset of the carbohydrates linked to proteins can be found at the Glycoconjugate Data Bank (GDB), where one can view 3-D structures of these molecules as found in the protein database (PDB). Access to information is straightforward. Visitors can browse through archives for desired structures or perform sophisticated searches. Retrieved entries contain PDB information and best of all 3-D structures as drawn in jmol, a Java-based application. Structures can be dragged to rotate them so as to facilitate viewing from all possible perspectives and giving the real 3-D feel to the molecules. An astonishing number of structures are available (over 6,400) with over 27,000 sugar residues. To ice the cake, a complete download of the contents of the database can be performed from the site. With a fear of overloading my hard drive, I didn’t try this. I am sure, however, that researchers will welcome such ready access to vital information.