DATABASE: Biochemistry's Little Guys

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Science  06 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5685, pp. 759
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5685.759c

DNA, RNA, and proteins are the big shots, but cells also depend on a host of smaller compounds and atoms such as zinc. To help drug designers, molecular biologists, and other researchers quickly round up information on these often overlooked components, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) has launched a new database called ChEBI. The collection tallies more than 2700 natural and synthetic “small molecular entities”: atoms, molecules, free radicals, ions, and other chemicals with biological impact. You can nab data such as the entry's chemical classification, function, and alternate names. Uncover its structure and what biochemical pathways it participates in by connecting to the KEGG Ligand Database (NetWatch, 3 April 1998, p. 7). To learn what proteins each example interacts with, follow links to EBI's UniProt database, a compendium of sequence and function information.

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