The PDB archive reaches a significant milestone

wwPDB news - 150,000 PDB entries released
20 March 2019

With this week's update, the PDB archive has passed the milestone of 150,000 entries, and now contains a total of 150,145.

Established in 1971, this central, public archive has reached this milestone thanks to the efforts of structural biologists throughout the world who collectively contribute a wealth of experimentally-determined protein and nucleic acid structure data, which is made available to researchers all around the world, across many different disciplines.

Four wwPDB data centers support online access to three-dimensional structures of biological macromolecules that help researchers understand many facets of biomedicine, agriculture, and ecology, from protein synthesis to health and disease to biological energy. The archive is large, containing more than 1.9 million files related to these PDB entries and requiring more than 512 gigabytes of storage. The PDB reached the landmark of 100,000 entries in 2014, the International Year of Crystallography. Since that record was set, the archive continued to grow rapidly, both in number of deposited structures and in the complexity of the data.


The PDB archive has continued to grow rapidly since its introduction in 1971.

This growth has been supported by the launch of OneDep, a common global system for deposition, validation, and biocuration of PDB data for supported experimental methods. The OneDep system and the underlying PDBx/mmCIF archive format enable the PDB archive to adapt over time to meet the challenges posed by developments in structural biology. One of these challenges has been the huge growth of large PDB entries solved by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), with the number of entries released per year now surpassing those from NMR techniques.


A massive increase in use of cryo-EM has recently seen EM depositions overtake NMR.

With this week's regular update, the PDB welcomes 262 new structures into the archive. These structures join others vital to research and education in fundamental biology, biomedicine, and bioenergy. Since its inception, the size of the archive has increased tenfold roughly every 10-15 years: the PDB reached 100 released entries in 1982, 1000 entries in 1993, and 10,000 in the year 2000. Now that the 150,000th is made available, more than half of the archive has been released in the past ten years.