PLoS Biology and MCP adopt iSee to enhance articles with interactive 3D molecular graphics

Two influential journals are now accepting and publishing articles that are enhanced using a unique platform known as iSee (interactive Structurally enhanced experience), developed in a collaboration between the SGC's Dr. Brian Marsden and Dr. Wen Hwa Lee, with Prof. Ruben Abagyan and his team from MolSoft L.L.C. This platform, featuring animations that 'fly' the reader through the structural representation to the specific molecular feature being described, has already been successfully employed in a pioneering PLoS ONE Collection highlighting a number of protein structures from the SGC.

The first journal is PLoS Biology, the flagship publication of the Public Library of Science (PLoS), a not-for-profit organization which releases scientific content under open access terms. In the July 2010 issue, the journal published two enhanced articles from the SGC revealing 3D structures of several medically-relevant proteins, providing critical information for understanding the molecular basis of their physiological functions and roles.

In the first article, Dr. Stefan Knapp and colleagues from SGC Oxford present the structure of human CaMKII, an enzyme that plays a central role in cellular signalling by sensing and transmitting calcium signals. CaMKII is activated by undergoing large conformational changes in the presence of calcium and calmodulin. In the second study Dr. Sirano Dhe-Paganon from SGC Toronto and colleagues report a thorough, family-wide structure/function analysis of human peptidyl-prolyl isomerases. These proteins are targets of the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporin, which is used to combat organ transplant rejection.

The second journal is Molecular and Cellular Proteomics (MCP), published by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) - also a non-profit organization, which showcases peer-reviewed research focusing on the structural and functional properties of proteins and their expression. In the August special issue, MCP highlights exciting progress made at the interface of two important research areas: interaction proteomics and structural biology. Two articles in this special issue use iSee to allow readers to explore specific features of a molecular structure in parallel with the text describing it. "We believe this added feature will provide MCP’s readers with a unique molecular viewing experience that enhances and complements the structural biology focus of the issue" says Angela Hvitved, managing editor of MCP.

The iSee concept was developed in line with SGC's ethos of promoting open and accessible science. As such, it is one of the main tools for disseminating the SGC's data in a way that can be easily used by anyone. "For 'open science' to be a truly changing endeavour, we have to make it accessible at all levels - and this includes delivering the knowledge in the most intuitive way so even a high school pupil can read, interact and understand what we do," said Prof. Aled Edwards, Chief Executive of the SGC. "We are delighted to collaborate with PLoS Biology and MCP/ASBMB to bring the iSee concept to its readers."

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