Charles Evans’s favorite structure is:

Ligand binding structures of myoglobin

Ligand binding structures of myoglobin

Source: Nature 404, 205-208 (9 March 2000)


A highlight of my undergraduate course in protein structure and dynamics, this series of crystal structures have been animated to show the conformational changes around the haem site of myoglobin. You can see the movement of the dissociated CO around the site, and the movement of individual amino acid residues as the local environment changes. It's truly beautiful to watch a protein's dynamics in such close detail!—Charles Evans

Geoffrey Price’s favorite structure is:

Zeolite Beta



My favorite crystal is zeolite beta, an intergrowth of two polymorphs, which I am holding in the picture. You can think of beta somewhat like taking these two models, shaving them into layers, and shuffling them like a deck of cards. I originally saw the structure of beta in 1985 in the Mobil Princeton labs where I had taken a consulting job working in Roland vonBallmoos’ group. The structure fascinated me because one of the polymorphs contains a spiral pore. Could it be grown in enantiomeric forms? Could it be used to separate enantiomers of organic compounds? But in my exit interview, I was told specifically that the structure of beta was one the top secrets of the company. Nothing could be said about it. Scroll forward 4 years to 1989 at Exxon Clinton labs. I was again a consultant and was in the office of John Newsam. Sitting on his desk was model of a zeolite. I picked it up to examine it, and because of the spiral pore, I recognized it as zeolite beta. 30 years later, I am still fascinated enough to build a digital model of the structure and have the two polymorphs printed.—Geoffrey Price

Hao-Bo Guo’s favorite structure is:



Source: JMB


We actually do not have a crystallographic structure of the mercuric ion Hg(II)-dependent transcription regulator, MerR. We only have the low-resolution envelope shape from small-angle X-ray scattering. However, combining SAXS and
molecular dynamics simulations we were able to refine this structure and visualize the opening-and-closing principal dynamics of the Hg(II)-bound MerR.—Hao-Bo Guo

Helen’s favorite structure is:

G-Protein Coupled Receptor Kinase 2


G-protein coupled receptor kinase 2 is an up and coming target for heart failure. It's crystal structure is useful for those of use working on designing inhibitors as therapeutics for heart failure. Mutagenesis studies have
shown that targeting specific amino acids is difficult. The crystal structure is very important as it is the entire conformation of the protein that we need to understand and the crystal structure helps to reveal this.—Helen