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February 10, 2012 / May K.

AlphaA Crystallin


Protein Data Bank ID: 3L1E
Protein Name: AlphaA Crystallin
Organism: Bos taurus
Title of Drawing: “The Eskimo”

AlphaA crystallin is a structure protein which can be found in the eye lens. Alpha crystallin can also act as a chaperon (meaning that it can assist proteins to acquire a certain 3D structure) and prevent the precipitation of denatured proteins. This property is suggested to contribute to the maintenance of lens transparency and to the prevention from cataracts.

There seems to be a good reason why an Eskimo is shown in this drawing. Interestingly, cataracts and glaucoma are prevalent in Alaska Native people.[*]

February 2, 2012 / May K.

Snake Venom Bungarotoxin


Protein Data Bank ID: 1HC9
Protein Name: alpha-Bungarotoxin
Organism: Bungarus multicinctus
Title of Drawing: “Seal and Cats”

α-Bungarotoxin is a snake venom from the elapid Bungarus multicinctus. It irreversibly binds the acetylcholine receptor which is the main receptor at the neuromuscular junction. Thereby it permits the binding of the acetylcholine molecule which is responsible for signal transfer into muscles. Thus, alpha-bungarotoxin causes muscle paralysis which than results in respiratory failure and consequently in the death of the victim.

January 19, 2012 / May K.

Activin A


Protein Data Bank ID: 3B4V
Protein Name: Activin A
Organism: Homo sapiens
Title of Drawing: “The Butterfly”

Activin A is a dimeric protein complex which enhances the liberation of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) from the pituitary gland. Therefore activin indirectly controls the development and reproductive processes of the male as well as of the female body.

The protein data bank entry comprises four activin beta-A chains in complex with four follistatin-like 3 (FSTL3) proteins. The “Butterfly” consists of an activin beta-A dimer (Activin A protein).

January 18, 2012 / May K.

Blogger Awards


Recently my blog has been nominated for the Kreativ (1) and for the Versatile (2, 3) Blog Award

  Versatile Blog Award

by 3 excellent bloggers:

  • Dear Kitty Is a many sided blog where you will find topics such as: animals, peace and war, social justice, women’s issues, arts, and much more…
  • Science Defined  This blog is written by a biomedicine student, who is aiming to popularize science and to show its beauty.
  • Four Blue Hills In this blog you can read about: politics, human rights, reading, computers, cultural anthropology, and much more… The blog has many illustrations and self-taken photographs.

Read more…

January 5, 2012 / May K.

Alzheimer’s disease related APP


Protein Data Bank ID: 2FK3
Protein Name: Copper Binding Domain of APP
Organism: Homo sapiens
Title of Drawing: “Elephant’s Bath”

The image gained by means of X-ray diffraction contains eight chains of the APP copper binding domain. Four chains are used for the elephant picture.

Via its copper binding domain Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) can modulate copper transport. Cu-binding presumably leads to a reduction of Aβ levels  which is a key player in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore copper could have therapeutic effects on Alzheimer’s patients.

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.

December 23, 2011 / May K.

Neuronal adaptor protein Mint1


Protein Data Bank ID: 1Y7N
Protein Name: 2-nd PDZ Domain of Mint1
Organism: Homo sapiens
Title of Drawing: “Tango”

And one more time: second PDZ domain of the neuronal adapter Mint1.

The same protein part as drawn in “The Parrot” and “Margarita’s Flight” but from a different perspective.

December 22, 2011 / May K.

Neuronal Adaptor Protein Mint1


Protein Data Bank ID: 1Y7N
Protein Name: 2-nd PDZ Domain of Mint1
Organism: Homo sapiens
Title of Drawing: “Margarita’s Flight”

The same snapshot of the Mint1 which was used for “The Parrot” but turned through 90°C. Just compare!

December 21, 2011 / May K.

GP120 from HIV


rotein Data Bank ID: 1GC1
Protein Name: Core Domain of GP120
Organism: Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Title of Drawing: “The Emperor”

Core domain of the GP120 envelope glycoprotein of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Such a glycoprotein is a kind of “forged entrance ticket” for the virus. With this ticket it can outwit the bouncers of immune cells (receptors) and enter them.
The evil looking emperor with an eagle appearance should remind us of preventing ourselves from HIV. Otherwise AIDS, like a crude monarch, will come to power over our world and will torture the folks.

December 19, 2011 / May K.

HIV Protease


Protein Data Bank ID: 2PWC
Protein Name: HIV-1 Protease
Organism: Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Title of Drawing: “The Rescuer”

The structure is an HIV-1 protease which has an essential role in the virus’ replication process. Proteases are enzymes which can cleave other proteins. The main task of the HIV-1 protease is to cleave proteins which are recently synthesized by the virus. After this processing many viral proteins gain their native structure and become functionally active. Without this specific protease the replication of HIV is not possible. Thus, this protease is used as a drug target in fighting against AIDS.

Both characters (the boy and the dog) are snapshots of the same protein from different perspectives.

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