Molecule of the Month
February 2021

Cellulose Synthase

Plants build tough cellulose strands one sugar at a time.


3D View:  6WLB




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.

2021 Video Challenge for High School Students

Molecular Mechanisms of Drugs for Mental Disorders

Entries for the Video Challenge can be submitted now until April 27, 11:59 pm PST. Award winners will be announced on May 18.

Quick Links

The Challenge | Submit | Judges | Learn | Participate

2020 Video Challenge key visual: opioid receptor with ligand in the active site
Celebrating 50 Years of Protein Data Bank
Celebrating 50 Years of Protein Data Bank

In 1971, the structural biology community established the single worldwide archive for macromolecular structure data–-the Protein Data Bank (PDB). In 2021, RCSB PDB and wwPDB are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the PDB with symposia, materials, and more.

Learn: Materials for Exploration
PDB-101 resources and 3D structures of COVID-19 proteins.
Teach: Curricula
The RCSB PDB Curricula provide authentic, hands-on teaching materials, individual and group activities and assessment suggestions.
Education Corner: Using PDB Resources
2020 ACA Transactions Symposium on Structural Science: New Ways to Teach the Next Generation by Cassandra Eagle (East Tennessee State University), Joe Tanski (Vassar College), Andrey Yakovenko, (Argonne National Laboratory), and Christine Zardecki (RCSB PDB).
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.

Carboxypeptidase A

Induced Lac Repressor

Cytochrome c



TATA-Binding Protein (TBP)

Hemoglobin S

Transfer Ribonucleic Acid (tRNA)


Hemoglobin (1000)

Immunoglobulin G (IgG)

Ribonuclease S

Myoglobin Fold



Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)


Lysozyme (512)

Cytochrome c (unbound)

Lysozyme (488)

Tomato Bushy Stunt Virus (TBSV)


Aspartate Transcarbamoylase (ATCase)




Lac Repressor



DPG-Hemoglobin Complex

Intermolecular Contacts in Hemoglobin S

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


Coronavirus Life Cycle

Biosites: Nucleus

Lipid Droplets


SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine

Poliovirus Neutralization

Excitatory and Inhibitory Synapses


HIV in Blood Plasma

Ebola Virus

SARS-CoV-2 Fusion

Biosites: Blood Plasma

Biosites: Red Blood Cell

Measles Virus Proteins

Mycoplasma mycoides

Biosites: Basement Membrane

Escherichia coli

SARS-CoV-2 and Neutralizing Antibodies

Influenza Vaccine

Immunological Synapse

Biosites: Cytoplasm

Insulin Action


Respiratory Droplet


Zika Virus

Biosites: Muscle