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Protein Sci. 2018 Jan;27(1):316-330. doi: 10.1002/pro.3331. Epub 2017 Nov 11.

RCSB Protein Data Bank: Sustaining a living digital data resource that enables breakthroughs in scientific research and biomedical education.

Author information

Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics Protein Data Bank, Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey, 08854.
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08903.
Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics Protein Data Bank, San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, 92093.


The Protein Data Bank (PDB) is one of two archival resources for experimental data central to biomedical research and education worldwide (the other key Primary Data Archive in biology being the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration). The PDB currently houses >134,000 atomic level biomolecular structures determined by crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, and 3D electron microscopy. It was established in 1971 as the first open-access, digital-data resource in biology, and is managed by the Worldwide Protein Data Bank partnership (wwPDB; US PDB operations are conducted by the RCSB Protein Data Bank (RCSB PDB;; Rutgers University and UC San Diego) and funded by NSF, NIH, and DoE. The RCSB PDB serves as the global Archive Keeper for the wwPDB. During calendar 2016, >591 million structure data files were downloaded from the PDB by Data Consumers working in every sovereign nation recognized by the United Nations. During this same period, the RCSB PDB processed >5300 new atomic level biomolecular structures plus experimental data and metadata coming into the archive from Data Depositors working in the Americas and Oceania. In addition, RCSB PDB served >1 million users worldwide with PDB data integrated with ∼40 external data resources providing rich structural views of fundamental biology, biomedicine, and energy sciences, and >600,000 educational website users around the globe. RCSB PDB resources are described in detail together with metrics documenting the impact of access to PDB data on basic and applied research, clinical medicine, education, and the economy.


3D electron microscopy; FAIR principles; NMR spectroscopy; PDB; PDBx/mmCIF; Protein Data Bank; RCSB; Research Collaboratory for Structure Bioinformatics; Worldwide Protein Data Bank; biocuration; chemical component dictionary; crystallography; data archive; data deposition; integrative/hybrid methods; macromolecular structure; metadata; open access; validation; wwPDB

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