The ribosome is a highly dynamic machine responsible for protein synthesis within the cell. Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and X-ray crystallography structures of ribosomal particles, alone and in complex with diverse ligands (protein factors, RNAs and small molecules), have revealed the dynamic nature of the ribosome and provided much needed insight into translation and its regulation. In the past years, there has been exponential growth in the deposition of cryo-EM maps into the Electron Microscopy Data Bank (EMDB) as well as atomic structures into the Protein Data Bank (PDB). Unfortunately, the deposited ribosomal particles usually have distinct orientations with respect to one another, which complicate the comparison of the available structures. To simplify this, we have developed a Database of Aligned Ribosomal Complexes, the DARC site (http://darcsite.genzentrum.lmu.de/darc/), which houses the available cryo-EM maps and atomic coordinates of ribosomal particles from the EMDB and PDB aligned within a common coordinate system. An easy-to-use, searchable interface allows users to access and download >130 cryo-EM maps and >300 atomic models in the format of brix and pdb files, respectively. The aligned coordinate system substantially simplifies direct visualization of conformational changes in the ribosome, such as subunit rotation and head-swiveling, as well as direct comparison of bound ligands, such as antibiotics or translation factors.
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