Molecule of the Month
January 2020

Twenty Years of Molecules

Celebrating the structural biology revolution


3D View:  6J4Y




Health Focus: Drugs and the Brain

The brain orchestrates everything we do, sending signals through the nervous system to control different parts of our body. The brain is also the home of our thoughts and consciousness, as neurons process the input from our senses and store what they find as memories. Many drugs are available to help tune the function of the brain and nervous system when there are problems. Unfortunately, the effects of some drugs are hard to control and can lead to abuse and addiction. Explore PDB-101 Resources to learn about proteins related to our nervous system and mental health.

2020 Video Challenge for High School Students

Molecular Mechanisms of Opioid Action

Entries for the Video Challenge can be submitted now until April 28, 11:59 pm PST. Award winners will be announced on May 19.

Quick Links

The Challenge | Submit Video | Learn | Participate

2020 Video Challenge key visual: opioid receptor with ligand in the active site
Learn: Materials for Exploration
Learn about the relationship between protein structure and function.
Teach: Curricula
The RCSB PDB Curricula provide authentic, hands-on teaching materials, individual and group activities and assessment suggestions.
Education Corner: Using PDB Resources
Using the Protein Data Bank in the College Classroom by Bonnie Hall (Grand View University, Iowa)
SciArt Galleries
Irving Geis (1908-1997) was a gifted artist who helped illuminate the field of structural biology with his iconic images. The Geis Digital Archive features many of his illustrations in the context of their molecular structures.

Images used with permission from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute ( All rights reserved.

Cytochrome c


Intermolecular Contacts in Hemoglobin S

Ribonuclease S

Myoglobin Fold

Induced Lac Repressor

Cytochrome c (unbound)

Transfer Ribonucleic Acid (tRNA)


Carboxypeptidase A

Lac Repressor

Aspartate Transcarbamoylase (ATCase)

TATA-Binding Protein (TBP)



Hemoglobin S



Tomato Bushy Stunt Virus (TBSV)







Lysozyme (488)

Lysozyme (512)

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)

Immunoglobulin G (IgG)

DPG-Hemoglobin Complex

Hemoglobin (1000)

The Molecular Landscapes by David S. Goodsell integrate information from structural biology, microscopy and biophysics to simulate detailed views of the molecular structure of living cells.

Illustrations are free for use under a CC-BY-4.0 license

Escherichia coli

Measles Virus Proteins


Biosites: Nucleus


Zika Virus

Ebola Virus

Biosites: Blood Plasma

Mycoplasma mycoides

Excitatory and Inhibitory Synapses


Insulin Action

HIV in Blood Plasma

Biosites: Cytoplasm

Biosites: Basement Membrane

Biosites: Red Blood Cell

Biosites: Muscle

Lipid Droplets