Molecular visualization is fundamental in the current scientific literature, textbooks and dissemination materials. It provides an essential support for presenting results, reasoning on and formulating hypotheses related to molecular structure. Tools for visual exploration of structural data have become easily accessible on a broad variety of platforms thanks to advanced software tools that render a great service to the scientific community. These tools are often developed across disciplines bridging computer science, biology and chemistry. This mini-review was written as a short and compact overview for scientists who need to visualize protein structures and want to make an informed decision which tool they should use. Here, we first describe a few ‘Swiss Army knives’ geared towards protein visualization for everyday use with an existing large user base, then focus on more specialized tools for peculiar needs that are not yet as broadly known. Our selection is by no means exhaustive, but reflects a diverse snapshot of scenarios that we consider informative for the reader. We end with an account of future trends and perspectives.
The cover shows a metaphorical representation of the anti-CRISPR AcrIIA6, represented as handcuffs, sequestering two Streptococcus thermophilus CRISPR1-Cas9 (St1Cas9) molecules at a time and preventing conformational changes associated with DNA recognition and binding. In the absence of AcrIIA6, St1Cas9 tightly binds to its target DNA, and can proceed to target cleavage. For further information, see the article by Hardouin and Goulet in this issue (pp. 507–516). This cover artwork has been made by Beata Edyta Mierzwa (www.BeataScienceArt.com).
Visualizing protein structures — tools and trends
Xavier Martinez, Matthieu Chavent, Marc Baaden; Visualizing protein structures — tools and trends. Biochem Soc Trans 29 April 2020; 48 (2): 499–506. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BST20190621
Download citation file: