Despite the diversity of topics and speakers, some common threads emerged at the joint structural biology meetings in Keystone this past week. First, structural genomics clearly has hit its stride. The US Protein Structure Initiative deposited some 1,300 structures in the linkurl:Protein Data Bank;http://www.rcsb.org/pdb between 2000 and 2005, RIKEN added 1,347 of its own between 2002 and 2005, and the Structural Genomics Consortium added another 180 in the past 18 months or so. That?s nearly 3,000 structures in five years. The PDB required 20 years to first achieve that number, only surpassing it in 1996. There remain many proteins that are tough to work with, either because they represent traditionally difficult classes (like membrane proteins), or because they cannot be made in soluble form. New techniques were presented to deal with these problems, but it?s clear that as one bottleneck opens, another closes. Thus the cost of the typical structure...
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