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Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Jan 4;46(D1):D459-D464. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx989.

MetalPDB in 2018: a database of metal sites in biological macromolecular structures.

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Magnetic Resonance Center (CERM)-University of Florence, Via L. Sacconi 6, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy.
Department of Chemistry-University of Florence, Via della Lastruccia 3, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy.


MetalPDB ( is a database providing information on metal-binding sites detected in the three-dimensional (3D) structures of biological macromolecules. MetalPDB represents such sites as 3D templates, called Minimal Functional Sites (MFSs), which describe the local environment around the metal(s) independently of the larger context of the macromolecular structure. The 2018 update of MetalPDB includes new contents and tools. A major extension is the inclusion of proteins whose structures do not contain metal ions although their sequences potentially contain a known MFS. In addition, MetalPDB now provides extensive statistical analyses addressing several aspects of general metal usage within the PDB, across protein families and in catalysis. Users can also query MetalPDB to extract statistical information on structural aspects associated with individual metals, such as preferred coordination geometries or aminoacidic environment. A further major improvement is the functional annotation of MFSs; the annotation is manually performed via a password-protected annotator interface. At present, ∼50% of all MFSs have such a functional annotation. Other noteworthy improvements are bulk query functionality, through the upload of a list of PDB identifiers, and ftp access to MetalPDB contents, allowing users to carry out in-depth analyses on their own computational infrastructure.

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