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module of the MLA course on Introduction to Molecular Biology Information
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"Front Doors" and "Back Doors" for Retrieving Structures

Below is an overview of some approaches that can be used to find 3-D structure records. On the following slides, you will have an opportunity to try each method.

If a protein sequence already HAS a resolved structure:
Front Door #1 Search the Entrez Structure database directly for your term(s) of interest.
Front Door #2 Search the Entrez Protein database and then "Display" the associated Structure records.
Note: Any protein sequence that was extracted from a 3-D structure record will have a "Structure" option in its "Links" menu. Rather than opening the Links menu of each protein sequence in your search results, a quick way to find all the associated structure records is to use the "Structure Links" option in the "Display" menu near the top of the search results page.
If a protein sequence DOES NOT HAVE a resolved structure:
Back Door #1 Find similar protein sequences and see if any of them have a resolved 3-D structure.
Back Door #2 Identify the conserved domain(s) in the protein of interest and view the 3-D structure of the domain(s).
More "back doors" exist -- these are just examples. They simply shed light on possible structure of a protein of interest. The actual structure must of course be confirmed experimentally.

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Revised 11/06/2007