Guide to Understanding PDB Data
PDB Overview
Beginner’s Guide to PDBx/mmCIF
Dealing with Coordinates
Biological Assemblies
Missing Coordinates
Protein Primary Sequences
Protein Hierarchical Structure
Small Molecule Ligands
Exploring Carbohydrates
Methods for Determining Structure
Crystallographic Data
Computed Structure Models
Molecular Graphics Programs
Introduction to RCSB PDB APIs


Guide to Understanding PDB Data is designed to help you get started with finding and exploring the hundreds of thousands of 3D structures in the PDB archive.

If you’re new to the world of structural biology, start with Introduction to the PDB.

If you have questions about PDB data, several pages will help:

Biological molecules are complicated and diverse, and experimental techniques aren’t always perfect, so several pages describe challenges you’ll face when exploring PDB files. These include:

If you have questions about the biology of biomolecules and how it is expressed in PDB structures, explore:

Molecular Graphics Programs offers an introduction to different ways to display biomolecules.

Many experimental and computational techniques are used to determine the structures of biomolecules.

Except where noted, this feature is written and illustrated by David S. Goodsell.