Remediation of the Protein Data Bank archive
The Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB; wwpdb.org) is the international collaboration that manages the deposition, processing and distribution of the PDB archive. The online PDB archive at ftp://ftp.wwpdb.org is the repository for the coordinates and related information for more than 47 000 structures, including proteins, nucleic acids and large macromolecular complexes that have been determined using X-ray crystallography, NMR and electron microscopy techniques. The members of the wwPDB-RCSB PDB (USA), MSD-EBI (Europe), PDBj (Japan) and BMRB (USA)-have remediated this archive to address inconsistencies that have been introduced over the years. The scope and methods used in this project are presented.
D426–D433 Nucleic Acids Research, 2008, Vol. 36, Database issue Published online 11 December 2007
Remediation of the protein data bank archive
, Zukang Feng
, Wolfgang F. Bluhm
, Dimitris Dimitropoulos
Jurgen F. Doreleijers
, Shuchismita Dutta
, Judith L. Flippen-Anderson
, Chisa Kamada
, Eugene Krissinel
, Catherine L. Lawson
John L. Markley
, Haruki Nakamura
, Richard Newman
, Yukiko Shimizu
, Sameer Velankar
, Jeramia Ory
, Eldon L. Ulrich
, John Westbrook
, Reiko Yamashita
, Huanwang Yang
, Muhammed Yousufuddin
and Helen M. Berman
MSD-EBI, EMBL Outstation-Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SD, UK,
RCSB Protein Data Bank, Department of
Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 610 Taylor Road, Piscataway,
NJ 08854-8087, USA,
RCSB Protein Data Bank, San Diego Supercomputer Center and the Skaggs School of
Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive,
Mailcode 0743, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA,
BioMagResBank, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of
Biochemistry, 433 Babcock Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA and
PDBj, Institute for Protein Research,
Osaka University, 3-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
Received September 13, 2007; Revised October 8, 2007; Accepted October 11, 2007
The Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB; wwpdb.
org) is the international collaboration that manages
the deposition, processing and distribution of
the PDB archive. The online PDB archive at ftp://
ftp.wwpdb.org is the repository for the coordinates
and related information for more than 47 000 struc-
tures, including proteins, nucleic acids and large
macromolecular complexes that have been deter-
mined using X-ray crystallography, NMR and
electron microscopy techniques. The members of
the wwPDB–RCSB PDB (USA), MSD-EBI (Europe),
PDBj (Japan) and BMRB (USA)–have remediated this
archive to address inconsistencies that have been
introduced over the years. The scope and methods
used in this project are presented.
The Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB) consists
of organizations that act as deposition, data processing
and distribution centers for PDB data. The members are
the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics
(RCSB PDB), Macromolecular Structure Data Bank
at the European Bioinformatics Institute (MSD-EBI),
Protein Data Bank Japan (PDBj) and the BioMag-
ResBank (BMRB) (1). Since 1971, the PDB has been
responsible for the collection, processing, archiving and
distribution of biological macromolecular structural data
(2). Over the last 36 years, the archive has grown from
seven structures to now more than 47 000. During this
same period, the methods used to determine structures,
the size of individual structures and the rate at which they
are being solved have all changed, as have the ways in
which the archive is used.
The methods used to collect, curate and process the
data also have evolved over time. Diﬀerent tools have
been used to collect the data including the earliest version
of AutoDep developed at Brookhaven (3), a reengineered
version developed at MSD-EBI (4) and ADIT used by
RCSB PDB and PDBj (5,6). Over the years, data curation
has become more and more automated, although expert
curators still review the structures to ensure they are
represented correctly. Finally, there have been subtle but
deﬁnite changes in the PDB ﬁle format (7) and the
deﬁnitions for the various records have been subject
to diﬀerent interpretations both by depositors and by
curators. The result of all of these factors has been
inconsistencies and outright errors in the data.
The wwPDB therefore undertook a project to remediate
the entire archive. The scope of this remediation project
has been to address problems that limit the utility of
the archive as a whole. Thus, we have focused on the
following areas: (i) improving the detailed chemical
description and nomenclature of the monomer units
of the biological polymers and small molecule ligands;
(ii) resolving any remaining diﬀerences between the chem-
ical and the macromolecular sequences, and updating
*To whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel: +1 732 445 4667; Fax: +1 732 445 4320; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ß 2007 The Author(s)
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/
by-nc/2.0/uk/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
sequence database references and taxonomies;
(iii) improving the representation of viruses; and
(iv) verifying primary citation assignments. We also
addressed miscellaneous errors, some REMARKS, and
structure factor and NMR restraint data. Coordinates
have not been changed.
The impact of this work on the data ﬁles and
dictionaries produced by the wwPDB are described in
the following sections.
CHEMICAL DESCRIPTIONS: THE CHEMICAL
A major portion of the wwPDB remediation project has
been devoted to improving the chemical description and
nomenclature used in the annotation of macromolecular
structure data. This work has been incorporated into
a new reference dictionary called the Chemical
Component Dictionary. Key features include:
Model and idealized coordinates
Chemical descriptors (e.g. SMILES (8) and InChI (9))
and systematic names
Stereochemical assignments and aromatic bond
IUPAC nomenclature for standard amino acids and
nucleotides (10) with the exception of the well-
established convention for C-terminal atoms OXT
More conventional atom labeling
Removal of redundant ligands
Additional description of protonation states
The remediated dictionary of chemical components
provides a richer and more accurate description of each
molecule. The more detailed chemical deﬁnitions have
been used to recheck the assignments of the monomer
(13M+) and non-polymer (170K+) molecules in the PDB
archive. While this chemical reference dictionary has been
used in the remediation of each PDB entry, much of the
information in this dictionary is not directly incorporated
within individual remediated entries. In particular, the
expressivity of the chemical description within PDB
format CONECT records is very limited. PDB users are
encouraged to take direct advantage of the content of
the new chemical dictionary.
Additional chemical deﬁnitions have been created for
amino acids in diﬀerent states of protonation. These
deﬁnitions document the nomenclature for the additional
protons not speciﬁed in the standard deﬁnitions. The
additional deﬁnitions are maintained in a Companion
Amino Acids Variants Dictionary that provides complete
molecular deﬁnitions of the protonated amino acids
The Chemical Component Dictionary provided the
basis for the remediation of all monomer units and small
molecule ligands in the PDB ﬁles. The impact of the new
chemical deﬁnitions is seen in the atoms names, atom
types, residue names and residue assignments.
The dictionaries and detailed descriptions of the
improved description of chemical components are avail-
able for download from http://www.wwpdb.org.
CHANGES TO THE PDB COORDINATE ENTRIES
Atom and residue naming
Atom names in the polymer chains (ATOM records in the
PDB ﬁle format) in the remediated data ﬁles directly
reﬂect the nomenclature changes in the chemical dic-
tionary. These names uniformly begin with their atom
type symbol, including hydrogen atoms. Names beginning
with numbers and unusual atom names have been
changed accordingly. Atom types are provided for every
Table 1. Histidine Variants in the Companion Amino Acids Variants Dictionary
HIS_LEO2 L-HISTIDINE C-TERMINAL DEPROTONATED FRAGMENT
HIS_LEO2H L-HISTIDINE C-TERMINAL PROTONATED FRAGMENT
HIS_LEO2H_DHD1 L-HISTIDINE-C-TERMINAL PROTONATED FRAGMENT/WITH SIDE CHAIN DEPROTONATED ND1
HIS_LEO2H_DHE2 L-HISTIDINE-C-TERMINAL PROTONATED FRAGMENT/WITH SIDE CHAIN DEPROTONATED NE2
HIS_LEO2_DHD1 L-HISTIDINE-C-TERMINAL DEPROTONATED FRAGMENT/WITH SIDE CHAIN DEPROTONATED ND1
HIS_LEO2_DHE2 L-HISTIDINE-C-TERMINAL DEPROTONATED FRAGMENT/WITH SIDE CHAIN DEPROTONATED NE2
HIS_LFOH L-HISTIDINE FREE NEUTRAL
HIS_LFOH_DHD1 L-HISTIDINE-FREE NEUTRAL/WITH SIDE CHAIN DEPROTONATED ND1
HIS_LFOH_DHE2 L-HISTIDINE-FREE NEUTRAL/WITH SIDE CHAIN DEPROTONATED NE2
HIS_LFZW L-HISTIDINE FREE ZWITTERION
HIS_LFZW_DHD1 L-HISTIDINE-FREE ZWITTERION/WITH SIDE CHAIN DEPROTONATED ND1
HIS_LFZW_DHE2 L-HISTIDINE-FREE ZWITTERION/WITH SIDE CHAIN DEPROTONATED NE2
HIS_LL L-HISTIDINE - LINKING EMBEDDED FRAGMENT
HIS_LL_DHD1 L-HISTIDINE-LINKING EMBEDDED FRAGMENT/WITH SIDE CHAIN DEPROTONATED ND1
HIS_LL_DHE2 L-HISTIDINE-LINKING EMBEDDED FRAGMENT/WITH SIDE CHAIN DEPROTONATED NE2
HIS_LSN3 L-HISTIDINE N-TERMINAL PROTONATED FRAGMENT
HIS_LSN3_DHD1 L-HISTIDINE-N-TERMINAL PROTONATED FRAGMENT/WITH SIDE CHAIN DEPROTONATED ND1
HIS_LSN3_DHE2 L-HISTIDINE-N-TERMINAL PROTONATED FRAGMENT/WITH SIDE CHAIN DEPROTONATED NE2
Note: The Chemical Component Dictionary is accompanied by a companion dictionary of amino acid variants that provides additional nomenclature
information for the protonation states of standard amino acids in N-terminal, C-terminal and free forms. This dictionary also includes common side
chain protonation states. It is similar to residue variants used in modeling software such as Charmm (42) and Amber (43).
Nucleic Acids Research, 2008, Vol. 36, Database issue D427
atom (i.e. ATOM record columns 77–78), so prior atom
name justiﬁcation conventions should no longer be
assumed in reading atom names. As with the Chemical
Component Dictionary, names for standard amino acids
and nucleotides follow IUPAC recommendations (10)
with the exception of the well-established convention for
C-terminal atoms OXT and HXT. These nomenclature
changes have been applied to standard polymeric chemi-
cal components only.
In the remediated entries, the atom names in the
Companion Amino Acids Variants Dictionary have been
used to describe protonated molecules; however, the
extended residue names are not used. The proton names
are assigned to the standard residue (i.e. HIS).
Residue assignments have all been rechecked against the
new and more detailed chemical reference dictionary. A
residue assignment was changed in the remediated entry if
it was inconsistent with chemical connectivity and/or
stereochemistry of its prior assignment, or the prior
assignment was obsoleted.
DNA and RNA nucleotides now have separate
chemical deﬁnitions. The DNA and RNA nucleotides
are distinguished with the DNA forms relabeled as DA,
DC, DG and DT. The nucleotide atom nomenclature has
been standardized, and the format of the ATOM record
provides explicit atom type information. Modiﬁed nucleo-
tides formerly identiﬁed as using the ‘plus-nucleotide’
syntax have been relabeled with the particular 3-letter
code corresponding to the full-modiﬁed nucleotide deﬁni-
tion (Table 2).
The impact of the changes in the Chemical Component
Dictionary on ligands (HET groups) in PDB entries
consisted of removing redundant deﬁnitions, absorbing
small modifying functional groups into complete compo-
nents, and removing deﬁnitions with ambiguous chemical
descriptions. More than 170 000 ligands in the data ﬁles
were checked against the dictionary, and as a result 7700
names changed and 330 component deﬁnitions were
obsoleted. The obsolete chemical components remain in
the dictionary with an identifying status of ‘OBS’. Beyond
ensuring that atom names begin with their type symbol,
no attempt was made to extend systematic nomenclature
to non-polymer chemical components.
Examples of obsolete heterogroup names
The various hydrated magnesium ions (MO1, MO2, MO3,
MO4, MO5 and MO6) have been split into an MG
(magnesium ion) and the appropriate number of water
molecules. In a similar manner, other examples are now
obsolete het-groups. KO4 has been split into a potassium
ion (K) and four water molecules (HOH), while het-group
543 has been split into a CA (calcium ion), an EOH
(ethanol molecule) and six water molecules. Some 64
such groups were made obsolete. Other groups have been
superceded to give a single unique het-group name
in the PDB collection, including: LTR, now TRP
(L-Tryptophan); FCY, now CYS (cysteine); NEV and
NIV, replaced by NVP (Nevirapine); and GS4, replaced
by SGC (4-thio-beta-D-glucopyranose). More than
180 such groups were made obsolete. Where possible,
single atom or small groups have been replaced by
complex single compound entries. These include making
the ethyl group (ETH) obsolete and creating new
hetgroups where previous PDB entries contained an
ETH linked to another het-group.
Sequence and taxonomy
Some inconsistencies between the chemical and the
coordinate macromolecular sequences were largely
resolved in data ﬁles deposited before 1998 when the
ﬁrst set of mmCIF data ﬁles were released in 2000 (11).
Remaining diﬀerences between the chemical and the
macromolecular sequence have been resolved through
the remediation project. All of these changes have been
applied to the remediated ﬁles in PDB format. The
remediated data ﬁles deposited pre-1998 reﬂect many
changes in SEQRES and ATOM records that were
required to resolve inconsistencies. Typical changes
included: assignment of poly-ALA sequences to the
Table 2. RNA and DNA atom names in the remediated and
Remediated Unremediated Remediated Unremediated
A OP3 A O3P DA OP3 A O3P
A P A P DA P A P
A OP1 A O1P DA OP1 A O1P
A OP2 A O2P DA OP2 A O2P
A O5' A O5* DA O5' A O5*
A C5' A C5* DA C5' A C5*
A C4' A C4* DA C4' A C4*
A O4' A O4* DA O4' A O4*
A C3' A C3* DA C3' A C3*
A O3' A O3* DA O3' A O3*
A C2' A C2* DA C2' A C2*
A O2' A O2*
A C1' A C1* DA Cl' A C1*
A N9 A N9 DA N9 A N9
A C8 A C8 DA C8 A C8
A N7 A N7 DA N7 A N7
A C5 A C5 DA C5 A C5
A C6 A C6 DA C6 A C6
A N6 A N6 DA N6 A N6
A N1 A N1 DA N1 A N1
A C2 A C2 DA C2 A C2
A N3 A N3 DA N3 A N3
A C4 A C4 DA C4 A C4
A HOP3 A 3HOP DA HOP3 A 3HOP
A HOP2 A 2HOP DA HOP2 A 2HOP
A H5' A 1H5* DA H5' A 1H5*
A H5'' A 2H5* DA H5'' A 2H5*
A H4' A H4* DA H4' A H4*
A H3' A H3* DA H3' A H3*
A HO3' A H3T DA HO3' A H3T
A H2' A H2* DA H2' A 1H2*
A HO2' A 2HO*
DA H2'' A 2H2*
A H1' A H1* DA H1' A H1*
A H8 A H8 DA H8 A H8
A H61 A 1H6 DA H61 A 1H6
A H62 A 2H6 DA H62 A 2H6
A H2 A H2 DA H2 A H2
The remediated and unremediated residue name and atom name are
given for the linked adenosine residue in RNA and DNA.
D428 Nucleic Acids Research, 2008, Vol. 36, Database issue
corresponding amino acids in the chemical sequence,
reassignment of chain identiﬁers to correspond to
complete chemical sequences, correcting terminal atom
nomenclature at internal gaps and providing non-blank
labels for all polymer chains.
Sequence database references and all associated
diﬀerence records have been checked and/or updated
along with associated taxonomy information for 61 K
sequences. UniProt (12) references have been used where
possible. Sequence database correspondences were veriﬁed
in December 2006. To maintain these correspondences
in the future, the PDB will use the mapping data from
the Structure Integration with Function, Taxonomy and
Sequence (SIFTS) initiative (13).
The representation of viruses and large assemblies has
been extended to better describe existing and anticipated
entries of this type. The description of the deposited and
experimental coordinate frames, symmetry and frame
transformations has been generalized to better represent
experiments that do not exclusively use crystallographic
symmetry. This description has been properly decoupled
from the description of non-crystallographic symmetry
(NCS) exploited within a crystallographic structure
determination. A simpliﬁed notation has been adopted
to express the symmetry generation of assemblies from
deposited coordinates and a standard set of matrix opera-
tions describing either point, helical or crystallographic
Errors in archived transformation matrices required to
build full assemblies from the deposited coordinates
for the existing 280+ virus structures were identiﬁed by
inspection of images generated with the multiscale model
module of UCSF Chimera (14). Corrected matrices
were obtained from the Virus Particle Explorer database
(VIPERdb, http://viperdb.scripps.edu) (15) or the Protein
Quaternary Structure server (PQS, http://pqs.ebi.ac.uk)
(16). The corrected transformation matrices are included
in remediated PDB format ﬁles.
In addition, transformations to crystal frame were
collected from author text remarks or primary citations,
or they were extracted from SCALE records for 210
icosahedral virus crystal structures. NCS operations
deﬁning crystal asymmetric units were determined and
crystal packing was inspected using the crystal contacts
module of UCSF Chimera. Entries with structure factors
were validated with SFCHECK (17). For structures
deposited in the crystal frame, NCS operations are
provided in the MTRIX records; for structures deposited
in other frames, a text description of how to build the
crystal asymmetric unit is provided in REMARK 285.
All primary citations have been rechecked. Citations
formerly marked as To Be Published have been researched
and either the citation has been identiﬁed or marked as
Not Published. PubMed identiﬁers have been provided
where available. The PubMed identiﬁers only appear
in the remediated mmCIF and PDBML ﬁles.
Miscellaneous improvements in consistency
To improve the overall consistency and accuracy of the
archive, a variety of individual corrections have been
applied. These include beamline names, synchrotron
facility names, source organism, method names, elimina-
tion of singleton alternate atom location labels, diﬀraction
wavelength, computing methods and the correction of
miscellaneous typographical errors. The latter includes
correcting misspellings and nonstandard usage, resolving
of duplicated identiﬁers (e.g. author residue numbers,
entity and citation identiﬁers) and properly distinguishing
null values from zero.
Free text PDB REMARKS have generally not been
remediated and have not been incorporated in the
remediated PDB entries. These remarks remain in a
legacy remark category data_PDB_remark in the mmCIF
and PDBML remediated ﬁles. These remarks can also be
viewed in the original entries that will always be preserved.
The following PDB remarks are constructed from text
templates using data items in the mmCIF/PDBML entry
ﬁle: 2, 3, 4, 100, 200, 210, 215, 220, 225, 230, 240, 245, 247,
250, 265, 280, 290, 300, 350, 375, 465, 470, 500, 525, 900.
These PDB remarks are reports constructed from the
individual data items in the more structured mmCIF/
PDBML data ﬁles. While the information presented in the
PDB remarks directly corresponds to the content of
the mmCIF/PDBML data ﬁles, the content of the PDB
remark may not be comprehensive. The mmCIF/PDBML
ﬁles should be used to obtain the most complete view of
a data entry. For instance, X-ray data collection details
in REMARK 200 may be found in the mmCIF/PDBML
data categories in reﬂn_group category group, and X-ray
reﬁnement details in REMARK 3 may be found in the
data categories in the reﬁne_group category group.
STRUCTURE FACTOR AND NMR RESTRAINT DATA
Many issues with structure factor data ﬁles have been
addressed through a collaboration with the developers of
the Uppsala Electron Density Server (EDS) (18).
Nomenclature standardization for NMR restraint ﬁles
in the current PDB archive has been done as part of the
NMR Restraints Grid Project, a collaboration with the
Collaborative Computing Project for NMR and Bijvoet
Center for Biomolecular Research. NMR restraint data
ﬁles with atom nomenclature corresponding to remediated
PDB data ﬁles will be available by the end of 2007.
The focus of the remediation project has been to address
certain data consistency issues within entries and to bring
all of the ﬁles in the archive to the current level of each
of the PDB data formats (PDB, mmCIF/PDBx and
PDBML). While the content of certain records may reﬂect
changes from remediation, the syntax and organization
of this information is largely the same as for new entries
processed by PDB. Some changes in content may aﬀect
the way in which existing records are used; these issues
for particular formats are discussed below.
Nucleic Acids Research, 2008, Vol. 36, Database issue D429
The record structure of the PDB format is essentially
unchanged by the remediation project. The format prior
to the remediation project was documented in the PDB
V2.3 contents guide (19). The small number of format
diﬀerences for the remediated entries are documented in
the PDB V3.0.1 contents guide (http://www.wwpdb.org/
docs.html). There are a few issues related to the use of the
remediated ﬁles that may require attention of software
developers. These include:
Standardization of hydrogen atom nomenclature has
required clarifying historical conventions in the justi-
ﬁcation of atom names in PDB ATOM records.
These conventions were used to convey atom type
information in early PDB format entries in which the
element symbol was not included. The remediated
entries uniformly include atom type information in
columns 77–78. Using the justiﬁcation of the atom
name to derive atom type information is now strongly
DNA nucleotide residues are diﬀerentiated from RNA
nucleotides in the remediated data ﬁles. DNA residues
are now preceded by the letter ‘D’ (e.g. DA, DC and
DG). Nucleotide modiﬁcations in the remediated ﬁles
are now fully described as complete chemical compo-
nents. The prior practice of identifying a nucleotide
modiﬁcation of with a preceding ‘plus’ character is
To distinguish PDB ﬁles containing the remediated
nomenclature from previous ﬁles, REMARK 4 has
been updated to reﬂect the format version 3.0 and
a notation that the ﬁle has been remediated.
The remediated data ﬁles introduce no change in the
syntax of mmCIF format data ﬁles (20). The following
issues may require the attention of software developers:
The maximum line length used in writing the remedi-
ated data ﬁles has been extended such that each atom
record in the atom_site category is written in a single
Additional auditing information is included in each
remediated ﬁle. The underlying dictionary name,
location and version are included in category
audit_conform. Version information for each mmCIF
data ﬁle is included in category pdbx_version.
The deﬁnitions of the data items included in the
remediated mmCIF ﬁles is described in the PDB exchange
dictionary version 1.045 (PDBx) (21) (http://mmcif.pdb.
org/dictionaries/ascii/mmcif_pdbx.dic) This version of
the dictionary incorporates some improvements in the
consistency of data typing, corrections to category key
structure, and miscellaneous corrections in deﬁnitions,
examples and enumerations. The details of the changes are
described in the dictionary history.
The remediated PDBML-XML (22) ﬁles are translated
from mmCIF remediated data ﬁles and reﬂect the content
changes described in the previous section. The revised
PDBML XSD schema also includes all the changes in
the PDBx version 1.045. The changes in category key
structure (e.g. citation_author, reﬁne_ls_restr_ncs) and
some data type changes may require attention in parsing
The approach to improving the chemical description in
the PDB relied heavily on improving and verifying the
Chemical Component Dictionary. A chemical component
description consists of a representative 3-dimensional
model taken from the archive along its associated atom
nomenclature, covalent bonding and stereochemistry.
This work involved extracting all instances of each
chemical component from the archive and verifying the
chemical assignments. Since prior chemical deﬁnitions
did not include detailed stereochemical assignments, these
were ﬁrst veriﬁed relative to the molecular name.
New stereochemically speciﬁc chemical deﬁnitions where
created in cases where multiple enantomeric forms
had previously been assigned to the same component
The preliminary screening of chemical component
deﬁnitions took advantage of the stereochemical assign-
ments used by MSDCHEM (23) obtained using the
CACTVS (24) chemical informatics toolset. The stereo-
chemical and aromatic bond assignments for the complete
chemical dictionary were later rechecked using CACTVS
tools and the OpenEye OEChem tools (25). Software
assisted assignments of stereochemistry and aromaticity
are limited to the chemical systems for which these
tools were developed (e.g. primarily tetravalent organic
systems). Saccharide components were also checked using
the GlycoSciences PDB-care software tool (26). Improved
description of chemical components involving metal
coordination or dative bonding is ongoing.
A set of computationally modeled coordinates was
provided in each component deﬁnition if a satisfactory set
of coordinates could be obtained using either CORINA
(27) or OpenEye Omega (28) packages. Systematic chem-
ical names and chemical descriptors were also included
in each component deﬁnition. Systematic names were
computed using ACDLabs ACD/Name batch naming
software (29) and OpenEye Lexichem (25). Stereo
SMILES descriptors were computed using both
CACTVS and OpenEye tools, and InChI descriptors
were computed using software distributed by this IUPAC
The improved chemical component deﬁnitions were
then used to recheck the assignments of each non-
polymer, modiﬁed amino acid or modiﬁed nucleotide
component instance in the PDB archive. This work
involved extracting the coordinates of each component,
Nucleic Acids Research, 2008, Vol. 36, Database issue
deriving the chemical connectivity of the component,
and comparing this to the chemical dictionary. This
process was driven by the DOHLC data processing
program that uses BALI (30) and OpenBabel (31,32)
for bond assignment and subgraph matching software
from the CCP4 Coordinate Library (23).
Integration of remediated data
To manage and track data ﬁles during the remediation
project a CVS archive was created for released PDB
entries as of March 2006. The CVS repository was built
from the mmCIF versions of these released entries.
Because the changes in sequence and taxonomy
manifest the greatest change in the organization of an
entry, these remediation corrections were integrated ﬁrst.
This work and other integration operations were
performed using tools adapted from the RCSB PDB’s
data processing and annotation software suite (5,6,33).
These tools perform edits in the macromolecular sequence
and propagate these changes consistently throughout the
entry. Sequence database correspondences and updated
taxonomy information were also updated at this point.
After revisions in macromolecular sequence were
applied, changes in component-level (modiﬁed residue
and ligand) nomenclature were reintegrated into the
remediated entries. Primary citation data, revised virus
representations, corrections to experimental and other
data items were then integrated.
Atom-level nomenclature changes were performed in
the ﬁnal software translation step prior to creating
remediated ﬁles in PDB and PDBML formats. This was
done in order to allow atom nomenclature to be reﬁned
during the course of the project. Beginning in December
2006, remediated data ﬁles in PDB, mmCIF/PDBx and
PDBML formats along with supporting dictionaries were
provided for public review.
Testing and validation
After all of the content and corrections were integrated
into the remediated data ﬁles, these ﬁles were rechecked
for consistency. Each of the wwPDB partners has contri-
buted to this ﬁnal validation of the remediated data ﬁles
by applying their respective data processing and database
tools to this task.
Using PDBx as a reference, each of the remediated
mmCIF ﬁles was rechecked. This dictionary-level testing
identiﬁes inconsistencies in controlled vocabularies,
boundary conditions and relationships between common
identiﬁers. Similar checks of this type were performed on
the PDBML data ﬁles using the XML schema translated
from the PDBx. Checks for atom and residue nomencla-
ture consistency were also performed against the Chemical
Data ﬁles were loaded into several relational database
systems with diﬀerent table schema. These loading
operations provided further tests of data type, controlled
vocabulary, boundary value and referential integrity.
Loading data within a native XML database system
provided additional complementary diagnostics.
During the public review of the remediated data,
we beneﬁted greatly from diagnostics contributed from
PDB users who exercised the remediated data ﬁles in the
application area of visualization, crystallographic phasing
and reﬁnement, docking, and homology modeling.
Questions and comments about the remediated data
should be sent to email@example.com.
In producing the remediated PDB data ﬁles, every eﬀort
was made to minimize the impact of the remediation
on existing software applications. However, in order to
support community standard nomenclature, Version 3.0
of the PDB Format was introduced. While adopting more
standard nomenclature greatly simpliﬁes the use and
comparison of PDB data in most respects, many existing
software applications have been developed to cope with
the eccentric historical nomenclature.
As described in the previous section on ‘Testing and
Validation’, the remediation project has included active
participation from PDB users and software developers.
The wwPDB maintained an informational website and
mail server during the last year of the project to provide
project information to earlier adopters and testers. The
wwPDB also hosted a workshop for software developers
at the 2007 American Crystallographic Association’s
annual meeting to address data representation issues
that became highlighted during the remediation project.
By the time the remediated data ﬁles replaced the
existing entries in August 2007, many widely-used
visualization programs such as OpenRasMol, Chimera,
PyMol, JMol, WebMol, KiNG, the Molecular Biology
Toolkit, jV (formerly known as PDBjViewer) and
Discovery Studio Visualizer were already compatible
with the remediated PDB data format (34–41). wwPDB
and user-contributed tools are also available to translate
between the nomenclatures used in old and remediated
data formats. A current list of applications reported
as compatible with the remediated data ﬁles and
related conversion software tools is available at http://
remediation.wwpdb.org/software.html. All of the wwPDB
deposition sites continue to accept depositions with either
The remediated data and data annotated and released
by members of the wwPDB are available for download
from ftp://ftp.wwpdb.org. This site is updated on a weekly
A snapshot of the unremediated PDB archive (as of
July 31, 2007) is available at ftp://ftp.rcsb.org. This site
has been frozen, and will not be updated.
The contributions of all of the wwPDB staﬀ members
are gratefully acknowledged. Special thanks goes to
the many PDB users who tested the remediated
data and provided comments, especially Dan Bolser,
Nucleic Acids Research, 2008, Vol. 36, Database issue D431
Alexandre M.J.J. Bonvin, Tommy Carstensen, Roland
Dunbrack, Howard Feldman, Dave Howorth, Miron
Livny, Eric Pettersen, the Richardson Lab at Duke
University and Clemens Vonrhein. The RCSB PDB
is operated by Rutgers, The State University of New
Jersey and the University of California, San Diego.
It is supported by funds from the National Science
Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical
Sciences, the Oﬃce of Science, Department of Energy, the
National Library of Medicine, the National Cancer
Institute, the National Center for Research Resources,
the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and
Bioengineering, National Institute of Neurological
Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute of
Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The
EMBL-EBI MSD group gratefully acknowledges the
support of the Wellcome Trust, the EU (FELICS,
EXTENDNMR, EuroCarbDB and 3DEM), the
BBSRC, the MRC and EMBL. PDBj is supported by
grant-in-aid from the Institute for Bioinformatics
Research and Development, Japan Science and
Technology Agency (BIRD-JST), and the Ministry
of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
(MEXT). The BMRB is supported by NIH grant
LM05799 from the National Library of Medicine.
Funding to pay the Open Access publication charge was
provided by NSF DBI 03-12718.
Conﬂict of interest statement. None declared.
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