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October 1, 2012 / May K.


Protein Data Bank ID: 3HON
Protein Name: Collagen XVIII Trimerization Domain
Organism: Homo sapiens
Title of Drawing: Allusion to Walter Moers’ “Alter Sack” from “The Little Asshole”

This is a trimerization domain from human collagen XVIII. Collagens are well known for their function as structural proteins. We all know that collagen is an important component of skin, bones, and muscles. Not many of us know that there are over 20 different types of collagen, one of them (type XVIII) turned out to have a function rather untypical for collagen. Like other collagen family members collagen XVIII consists of three helical chains. The formation of this triple helical structure is dependent on the here shown trimerization domain. Once the trimerization domains of three collagen chains have found each other and assembled, the chains start aligning and acquiring a helical structure. This happens in a zipper-like manner. Cleavage of collagen XVIII results in a small protein called endostatin. Endostatin prevents the formation of blood vessels and is a possible agent for cancer treatment.

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The old geezer in my drawing was supposed to be an allusion to the “Old Curmudgeon” (scenes with curmudgeon on YouTube; in german) from “The Little Asshole”, cartoon by a german comic creator Walter Moers… The same day that I was finishing this drawing, I occasionally stumbled upon a cartoonist unknown to me by then. His book was offered by the bookstore on our campus. The cartoonist’s name is Jean-Marc Reiser. I liked his obscene cartoons and couldn’t resist the special offer, so I bought the book. When I came home I searched the Web for more cartoons. And that is what I found:

Image source:,1010993.aspx

Now compare Reiser’s “handicapé” to Moes’ ”old curmudgeon”.

Image source:

Indeed, I found out that Moers was a big fan of Reiser. Thus, my tribute to Walter Moers at the same time turned out to be a tribute to Jean-Marc Reiser.


Leave a Comment
  1. iamalexwyler / Oct 3 2012 2:53 pm

    Good work, keep it up! I like to read your blog (but sometimes I don’t understand all the things you describe here) and I like the way you write at all.

    • May K. / Nov 1 2012 3:52 pm

      Спасибо! Да, иногда нелегко простым языком популярно разъяснить функцию белка (особенно на чужом языке), но буду стараться.:) Кстати, мне очень нравиться ваша музыка!)

      • Alex Wyler / Nov 1 2012 4:16 pm

        Воистину внезапный ответ на русском)
        Буду теперь с удвоенным рвением вникать в текст))

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