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This week, Diamond and its scientific users achieved a significant milestone by depositing its 10,000th Macromolecular Crystallography (MX) structure in the Protein Data Bank (PDB), a global repository and resource for students and researchers working to understand the molecules of life. This highlights Diamond’s position as one of the most successful and prolific light sources solving biological structures and sharing this information worldwide.
Diamond has a suite of instruments dedicated to solving the 3D structure of large biological molecules – proteins, DNA and RNA. Scientists use the MX beamlines to reveal the shape and arrangement of biological molecules at atomic resolution, knowledge of which provides a highly accurate insight into function. Each 3D structure solved is deposited into the Protein Data Bank (PDB). The depositions are then released on a weekly basis. Today’s PDB release takes Diamond beyond 10,000 structures deposited.
Dr Dave Hall, MX Science Group Leader at Diamond, says:
This is an incredible milestone for Diamond. Thanks to the continually developing capabilities and dedicated staff, we have been able to consistently serve the UK, European and international structural biology community with access to cutting-edge technology and expertise in the field.
Professor Dave Stuart, Director of Life Sciences at Diamond Light Source and Joint Head of Structural Biology at University of Oxford, comments on the batch of Diamond MX structures released this week, which includes the 10,000th:
This is a fantastic demonstration of the breadth and diversity of the science and user base of Diamond’s MX beamlines. Institutes from the UK, Europe, the Middle East, USA and Australia have been involved in these experiments, from both academia and industry. These latest structures will help to progress scientific research in a range of areas, from the discovery of chemotherapeutics for the treatment of metabolic diseases to identifying viral mutants that may become highly contagious and cross the species boundary. Knowing the structure of the biological molecules involved gives us vital information on how they function, which helps us to understand the role they play in health and disease.
Diamond is one of around 50 synchrotron light source facilities currently in operation worldwide and plays a key role in solving biological structures. In 2019, 35% of all structures solved at synchrotrons in Europe were solved at Diamond and around 11% of all worldwide synchrotron structures were solved at Diamond. The detailed structural information is extremely valuable for instance in drug design. This is illustrated aptly by a 2017 economic analysis performed by the Rutgers Office of Research Analytics which noted that a reasonable estimate to replicate the PDB data archive at the time was $12 billion*.
* Economic Impacts of the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB)Protein Data Bank, May 2017. https://www.rcsb.org/pages/about-us/economic-impact
The Protein Data Bank (PDB) was established as the first open access digital data resource in all of biology and medicine. The Worldwide PDB is a consortium of three sites across the globe; in the USA, Japan and the UK. All structures in Europe are deposited and curated in the Protein Data Bank in Europe (PDBe), which is based at EMBL-EBI in Cambridgeshire.
Through an internet information portal and downloadable data archive, the PDB provides access to 3D structure data for large biological molecules (proteins, DNA, and RNA). These are the molecules of life, found in all organisms on the planet. The experimental data held in the PDB is central to scientific discovery.
Knowing the 3D structure of a biological macromolecule is essential for understanding its role in human and animal health and disease, its function in plants and food and energy production, and its importance to other topics related to global prosperity and sustainability.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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