21-Nov-2003 Press Release


Today the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB),
the Macromolecular Structure Database at the EMBL's European
Bioinformatics Institute (MSD-EBI), and Protein Data Bank Japan (PDBj)
announced a collaboration to form the Worldwide Protein Data Bank
(wwPDB; http://www.wwpdb.org/). The announcement is published in the
December issue of Nature Structural Biology [H.M. Berman, K. Henrick,
H. Nakamura (2003): Announcing the worldwide Protein Data Bank. Nature
Structural Biology 10 (12), p. 980].

The collaboration reflects the growing international and
interdisciplinary nature of scientific research, and formalizes the
global character of the PDB, which has been used as an international
resource for the collection and sharing of three-dimensional
information on proteins and other large molecules since its inception
32 years ago. The formation of the wwPDB will be transparent to users
and will ensure the overall quality and consistency of data directly
available through the PDB.

"By providing a formal mechanism for standardizing the presentation of
PDB data, software developers and users of the data will be assured of
consistent data. At the same time, it is hoped that this wwPDB will
allow for individual creativity in how the data are presented and made
available to the community," said Helen Berman, director of the RCSB
PDB and Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry at Rutgers, The
State University of New Jersey.

Kim Henrick, head of the MSD-EBI said, "The PDB is a canonical
research resource that transcends both scientific and political
boundaries. The wwPDB agreement among the three equal partners
elevates the responsibility for the deposition and accessibility of
the data to a global level. The EBI has been a longtime deposition
site and advisor to the PDB and the evolution of that role is a
welcome development."

Head of the PDBj group at the Institute for Protein Research in Osaka
University, Haruki Nakamura said, "The PDBj has become the
representative for the PDB throughout Asia and Oceania. With the
recent explosion of interest in structural biology and bioinformatics
research in the region, which would not be possible without the PDB,
it is a natural step for us to formalize our involvement through the

The PDB is the single archive of biological macromolecular structure
data, which is made freely and publicly available to researchers,
educators, and students. Worldwide, the PDB receives over 60 million
hits per year. As of October 28, 2003, it contained 22,984 structures,
a number that has been growing exponentially.

According to a 10-year agreement signed by the 3 founding members of
the wwPDB, the sites will share responsibilities in data deposition,
data processing, and distribution. An international advisory board
will be formed to support the collaboration.