As the number of macromolecular structures in the worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB) continues to grow rapidly, more attention is being paid to the quality of its data, especially for use in aggregated structural and dynamics analyses. In this study, we systematically analyzed 3.5 Å regions around all metal ions across all PDB entries with supporting electron density maps available from the PDB in Europe. All resulting metal ion-centric regions were evaluated with respect to four quality-control criteria involving electron density resolution, atom occupancy, symmetry atom exclusion, and regional electron density discrepancy. The resulting list of metal binding sites passing all four criteria possess high regional structural quality and should be beneficial to a wide variety of downstream analyses. This study demonstrates an approach for the pan-PDB evaluation of metal binding site structural quality with respect to underlying X-ray crystallographic experimental data represented in the available electron density maps of proteins. For non-crystallographers in particular, we hope to change the focus and discussion of structural quality from a global evaluation to a regional evaluation, since all structural entries in the wwPDB appear to have both regions of high and low structural quality.
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