Zero in on a PDB structure

Lots of proteins to choose from!

Let’s look up one of the enzyme molecules that many people are interested in these days,  HMG CoA reductase.  This is the enzyme that is inhibited by the statin drugs, the drugs that block cholesterol synthesis.  One of the most informative examples of the structure of HMG CoA reductase is listed under the code name 1hwk in the PDB.  How did I discover this enzyme molecule in the PDB?  I used the dynamic duo of online resources that every protein artist will use often:

  • Good ol’ Wikipedia (I looked up the term “statin drug” and discovered an image of HMG CoA reductase which referred to the codename 1hwk), and then I used the amazing …
  • Protein Data Bank (I searched for “1hwk”, or I could haves searched directly for “HMG CoA reductase”).

HMG CoA reductase 1HWK, shown as a ribbon depicting the polypeptide chains.

Once you arrive at the PDB entry for 1hwk, you can use sidebar commands to view the structure in 3D.  You can change the appearance of the molecule.  Change from view the proteins chains as ribbons to viewing space filling versions with every atom depicted by color schemes of your choice.  There are a few varieties of 3D viewers to choose among.  A lot depend on which platform and operating system you are using, be it a phone, laptop or console computer.  Invest some time to explore.

HMG CoA reductase. PDB ID 1HWK. Rotated about the long axis; color coded to show the several chains that are assembled together to make the complete molecule.

HMG CoA reductase. PDB ID 1HWK. Ball-and-stick model of the atoms, color-coded to highlight in yellow the relatively uncommon sulfur atoms.

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