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December 26, 2011 / May K.

Insulin Hormone

Protein Data Bank ID: 3IRO
Protein Name: Insulin
Organism: Homo sapiens
Title of Drawing: “The Fly”

Insulin is a famous hormone involved in the regulation of our metabolism. In its active form, as a monomer, it can reduce the level of glucose in blood by transporting the sugar into the cell. While inactive insulin is stored as a hexamer complexed with a zinc ion.

The drawing of the fly is produced from an insulin dimer.


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  1. imran / Jan 3 2012 8:21 pm

    hah! cool concept and subsequent blog. so awesome in a deliciously nerdy way!

    • May K. / Jan 4 2012 1:44 pm

      Thanks!:) I really like the expression “deliciously nerdy”;))

  2. pensatorkjh / Jan 12 2012 9:11 am

    Can your machine support a rendering of a specific dsDNA sequence bound to helicase, clamped, and also bound to a topoisomerase?

    • May K. / Jan 17 2012 2:15 pm

      The protein-viewer I use can open every protein whose 3D structure is known and available in the pdb format (they are stored in the pdb data base: I know that such 3D representations are available for all three proteins you listed. I can try to produce a drawing of one of them or maybe of a domain/subunit (as these proteins are rather big). However, there is a difficulty in this story: the type of representation I use in the protein-viewer traces the secondary structure of proteins, it can also represent DNA, but you won’t see any difference between different DNA-sequences (so the DNA will always look the same).

      But I will definitely try it, thank you for the ideas!

    • May K. / Jan 20 2015 1:54 am

      Three years later… but voila, here ( is the DNA clamp!:)

  3. Leigh Maijala / Jan 13 2012 3:24 pm

    May Kay,
    Such a unique, captivating concept for a blog and for art! Being a former art student, it’s so amazing to see some of my favorite subjects, seemingly unrelated, combined together to make a beautiful outcome.
    You’ve a new follower. I look forward to your future posts! How did this all begin?

    • May K. / Jan 17 2012 3:37 pm

      Thank you, it’s so great to hear compliments from a real artist!

      Actually my hobby started after I had to congratulate my former professor on his anniversary. I didn’t know what to do and desperately tried to find inspiration from his papers. Than I realized that the protein structures he was working on looked like funny creatures. That was when I produced my first drawings.
      Later my grand aunt showed me her drawings based on mathematical functions and I saw that combination of art and science can lead to beautiful results. That was why I decided to keep on working on the idea of producing art out of proteins.


  1. DNA Clamp | Protein Art

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