However, data in both the literature and in databases suffer from the fact that they are often non-comparable due to incomplete and imprecise descriptions of materials and methods. Furthermore, if the experimental conditions are not fully and accurately stated, the values of the functional data of enzyme activities are of little use for, in particular, systems biology applications.
Further problems occur even when the data are well reported; they will have often been collected under quite disparate conditions so that researchers are faced with the problem of the range of method-specific enzyme data. This is often an issue when data move between researchers whose data are supplied by laboratories that use different methods, and can, in the worst case, lead to misinterpretation of laboratory findings.
Since 2003 the STRENDA Commission (Standards for Reporting Enzyme Data) has been actively working on concepts to improve the quality of reporting functional enzyme data that will allow the efficient use of enzyme kinetics in the in vivo, in vitro and in silico investigation of biological systems. The Commission has two major goals: the first is the development of a set of guidelines for the reporting of data in publications. These guidelines are currently recommended by 28 biochemistry journals. The second goal is the development of an electronic data submission tool that incorporates the STRENDA Guidelines, and which is intended to act as a portal for the submission of enzyme kinetics data to a freely-accessible, public database.
The previous four ESCEC symposia have not only supported the work of the STRENDA Commission, but have also lead to the symposium becoming established as a scientific meeting in its own right. For the fifth symposium, the organizers decided to choose 'Protein Structure Meets Enzyme Kinetics' as the focus of the meeting - providing a perfect example of an interesting and important area of contempory science where the reporting of data needs to be improved. The characterization of enzyme functions is usually accompanied by the determination of the rates by which enzymes catalyze reactions. This knowledge can give insights into the mechanism of the reaction, which in turn relates to the structure of the enzyme.
At the 5th ESCEC Symposium, organized by the Beilstein-Institut together with the STRENDA Commission, topics ranged from describing how the modification of enzyme structures affects the kinetics of enzyme reactions to discussing new results, approaches and methodologies for establishing physiological ties between sequence, structure and kinetics and modeled networks of collaborative enzymes. The overall topic - standard representation of enzyme data - was considered and discussed in precise detail when the initial version of the STRENDA capturing tool was presented. This has enabled the Commission to complete a working data acquisition prototype, which can be accessed at http://www.strenda.org/eform.html/. Any comments and suggestions are still welcome!