Perspectives in biological physics: The nDDB project for a neutron Dynamics Data Bank for biological macromolecules
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Neutron spectroscopy provides experimental data on time-dependent trajectories, which can be directly compared to molecular dynamics simulations. Its importance in helping us to understand biological macromolecules at a molecular level is demonstrated by the results of a literature survey over the last two to three decades. Around 300 articles in refereed journals relate to neutron scattering studies of biological macromolecular dynamics, and the results of the survey are presented here. The scope of the publications ranges from the general physics of protein and solvent dynamics, to the biologically relevant dynamics-function relationships in live cells. As a result of the survey we are currently setting up a neutron Dynamics Data Bank (n DDB) with the aim to make the neutron data on biological systems widely available. This will benefit, in particular, the MD simulation community to validate and improve their force fields. The aim of the database is to expose and give easy access to a body of experimental data to the scientific community. The database will be populated with as much of the existing data as possible. In the future it will give value, as part of a bigger whole, to high throughput data, as well as more detailed studies. A range and volume of experimental data will be of interest in determining how quantitatively MD simulations can reproduce trends across a range of systems and to what extent such trends may depend on sample preparation and data reduction and analysis methods. In this context, we strongly encourage researchers in the field to deposit their data in the n DDB.
KeywordsTopical issue: Neutron Biological Physics