Skip to main content
Biology LibreTexts

3.8: View 3D Animated Images of Proteins in the NCBI Database

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    We can’t see them with our own eyes, but viewed by X-Ray diffraction, proteins exhibit exquisite diversity. You can get an X-Ray eye’s view of protein structures at National Center for Biological Information’s Cn3D database. Here’s how to access three- dimensional animated images of proteins from the database:

    Click to download the Cn3D-4.3.1_setup file (for Windows or Mac). The software will reside on your computer and will activate when you go to a macromolecule database search site.

    Click to enter the protein structure database (below):


    The search example shown above for human insulin takes you to this link:

    .x=12&submit.y=12 The website is shown below:


    Click View in Cn3D for the desired protein. For human insulin see this:


    To rotate the molecule, click View then Animation, then Spin… and enjoy!

    This page titled 3.8: View 3D Animated Images of Proteins in the NCBI Database is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gerald Bergtrom.

    • Was this article helpful?