Alex J. Vecchio’s favorite structure is:

PDB ID: 3MDL – Crystal structure of COX-2 bound to an endocannabinoid

Source: The Journal of Biological Chemistry

Why?

My favorite crystal structure is the first one I solved as a graduate student. I recall the humbling feeling I had as I realized that I was the first human being to observe the binding of this important neuromodulating substrate bound in the active site of COX-2. I then remember feeling confused, as I compared this binding conformation to the binding of other COX-2 substrates, and thinking I made a mistake somehow when I noticed the active site molded around the substrate instead of vice versa, as the comparative substrates seemed to do. After several years more of work I verified the structure through biochemical analyses. Such are the (rewarding) adventures of a graduate student in crystallography.—Alex J. Vecchio

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