Ever had difficulty following a structural biology paper? Well, the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) and PLoSone have got together to provide a collection of articles available in enhanced versions utilising the iSee 3D visualisation platform. The collection, entitled ‘Structural Biology and Human Health: Medically Relevant Proteins from the SGC’, contains a series of articles documenting many of the novel protein structures determined by the SGC and work to further characterise their function. The iSee platform enables the reader to manipulate three-dimensional images within the article, as well as presenting pre-determined scenes from links in the text.
The iSee concept has been implemented using Molsoft’s ICM software, allowing structural data to be packaged and viewed in a browser (either online, through use of a free browser plugin, or offline with a standalone version). Plugins are available for all the major browsers and operating systems. Details of the approach and technical implementation are reviewed in ‘SGC – Structural Biology and Human Health: A New Approach to Publishing Structural Biology Results’ and ‘A New Method for Publishing Three-Dimensional Content’. If you want to try it out, take a look at ‘Crystal Structure of the ATPase Domain of the Human AAA+ Protein Paraplegin/SPG7’ and follow the link to the enhanced version.
The SGC is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to solve the three-dimensional structures of proteins of medical relevance and place them into the public domain without encumbrance or restriction. It is driving the concept of ‘open-source science’ to enable drug discovery by promoting pre-competitive structural biology and medicinal chemistry. In 2008 the SGC contributed 20.5% of novel structures released by the PDB.