449 Citations maybe Affected by Retracted Structures

Dec 10, 2009

The Birmingham News just reported that former researcher, H.M. Krishna Murthy, may have falsified or fabricated data. The Journal of Biological Chem­­istry has already retracted the paper in question, which contains PDB entry 1BEF.

If other journals follow suite the impact will be significant. According to Google Scholar, a total of 449 cite the papers in which these structures appear.

The University of Ala­bama at Birmingham announced that 12 structures were falsified or fabricated. The 12 questionable structures that have been deposited into the PDB are as follows: 1BEF, 1CMW, 1DF9, 2QID, 1G40, 1G44, 1L6L, 2OU1, 1RID, 1Y8E, 2A01, and 2HR0.

The publications involve a wide range of topics including: dengue viruses, serine proteases, Taq DNA polymerase, heparan sulfate proteoglycans, apolipoprotein A-II and A-I, suramin in heparin binding, and complement component 3.

The following table contains links to the structures, pdf of the journal articles and citations. The table is worth exploring if you believe you may draw conclusions based on these structures.

PDB ID: Journal: Cited By:
1BEF Journal of Biological Chemistry 94
1CMW Acta. D 2
1DF9 Journal of Molecular Biology 75
2QID To be Published 0
1G44, 1G40 Cell 89
2OU1, 1L6L Biochemistry 29
1Y8E Biochemistry 4
2A01 PNAS 95
2HR0 Nature 25

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    1. Sparky Clarkson
      December 11th, 2009 at 10:23 AM #

      That’s a damn shame. A sad day for the University, and for the students and postdocs whose careers will be permanently tainted by their association with this guy.

    2. Sili
      December 12th, 2009 at 12:18 PM #


      Certainly worse than getting Marshed.

    3. Artem
      December 12th, 2009 at 9:21 PM #

      It’s not over till the fat lady sings. Yes, people who forge data do indeed suck most mightily – however, the scientific establishment has in the past absorbed much more serious screw-ups without too much fallout (cold fusion, Korean cloning, etc.) – on the background of past fraud these instances look positively domestic.

    4. Martin Stoermer
      December 17th, 2009 at 6:01 PM #

      Apart from the millions of dollars of Government-funded work that has been done on the back of these spurious structures. e.g. the massive drug design efforts for Dengue based on 1DF9, which I still see people citing in papers I referee.

    5. Sean
      December 18th, 2009 at 3:29 PM #

      I have yet to hear what the ramifications will be of these retracted structures, but Gert Vriend has proposed, “… tarring and feathering.”

    6. Neil
      December 22nd, 2009 at 7:29 AM #

      Enjoyed this series of posts. Also, hate to be the grammar pedant but it’s affected, not effected.

    7. Sean
      December 22nd, 2009 at 10:07 AM #

      Sorry about that and thanks for the help

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