May 15, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 10)
Strong Points: Large assortment of tools
Weak Points: Some links don’t work
Molecular models have certainly come a long way since those kits with various-colored balls—fun to put together, but impossible to take apart. Nowadays one can eliminate sore fingertips by performing one’s molecular modeling on the computer. (Who wants to build a peptide chain by hand, anyway?) For those of you with in silico inclinations, the NIH MBI Laboratory Servers offer a panoply of resources. With 26 servers, one can detect errors in protein models with ERRAT, or determine the amount of rare E. coli codons from a sequence with RACC (the appropriately named rare codon calculator). Crystal twinning and Mycobacterium tuberculosis protein regulation are also within the scope of this site. The only disappointment, as far as I could tell, was the nonfunctional “electronic notebook for recording crystallization experiments.” Alas, I am left to make do with paper and pen. I guess computers can’t replace everything.