Protein Portraits

         The aesthetic alchemy of life

Archive for April, 2017

April 18, 2017

KlpA Kinesin can walk backwards!

Filed under: 2017 posts,Student posts @ 11:23 am

This was news a few months ago but the Weihong Qiu lab in the Physics/Biophysics lab observed and reported that kinesin can walk backwards. It was previously thought that kinesin could only walk forward, in fact the Hoogenraad Lab video on kinesin even mentioned that it could only walk forward.   Here is the post […]


Filed under: 2017 posts,Student posts @ 9:56 am

Let me introduce Erythrocruorin, giant hemoglobin made from earthworms. This hemoglobin is HUGE, it is comprised of 144 globin chains and its skeleton is comprised of 12 globin chains. Each of these chains can carry oxygen and with its 3-fold symmetry, the real reason I noticed it, it kinda acts like a rock tumbler or […]

April 16, 2017

Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Filed under: 2017 posts,Student posts @ 7:04 pm

TMV is the first virus to be discovered and is found to be mostly made of protein. It is supposed to be very stable and can survive for years within a cigar or cigarette. TMV’s helical shape kind of reminds me of tubulin and how it forms dimers to make microtubules. Though they do not […]

April 13, 2017


Filed under: 2017 posts,Student posts @ 10:08 am

Actinomycin, discovered in Streptomyces antibioticus in 1940, is the first natural antibiotic that has anti-cancer activity. Unfortunately, actinomycin does not specifically kill cancer cells, so it too toxic for general use. This molecule works by intercalating into the DNA double helix and interfering with topoisomerase activity. Topoisomerases, which untangle and reduce tension of DNA strands in […]

Photoactive Yellow Protein

Filed under: 2017 posts @ 9:48 am

Photo active yellow fluorescent protein absorbs blue light. It contains a photoactive center called a chromophore that changes its conformation when it absorbs a blue photon, thereby enabling the protein to sense blue light. Given the importance of the chromophore’s motion in enabling the protein’s function, naturally I want to emphasize how the its motion […]

April 12, 2017


Filed under: 2017 posts,Student posts @ 9:46 pm

Proteasomes break down other proteins. They help keep the cell free of damaged proteins as well as allowing the cell to  recycle parts of proteins that it no longer uses. In this image, the yellow and red core is where the proteins are broken down. The blue ends recognize ubiquitin tagged proteins and starts pulling […]


Filed under: 2017 posts,Student posts @ 8:55 pm

This is the P-Glycoprotein found in many cells of the human body. It’s role is to search for toxic molecules and eject them from the cell to be disposed. Using ATP, the P-Glycoprotein targets mostly hydrophobic toxic molecules in its deep opening and then changes shape to allow the molecule to escape outside of the […]

Sodium-Potassium Pump

Filed under: 2017 posts,Student posts @ 5:46 pm

Sodium-potassium pumps create and maintain electrochemical gradients, pumping potassium ions into the cell and sodium ions out of the cell. The established gradient is a crucial part of sending electrical nerve signals and regulating the osmotic pressure in cells. When the axon of a nerve cell experiences a depolarization in membrane potential, sodium-potassium pumps are responsible […]

Filed under: 2017 posts @ 4:33 pm

Clathrin coats vesicles to form their spherical shape.  Clathrin coats vesicles going from organelle to organelle as well as those entering or exiting the cell. The individual clathrin protein is shown in color next to a hemaglobin for scale as well as intertwined with other clathrin molecules to form a hollow sphere.  I was unable […]

April 11, 2017

Aquaporin: Wat-er an amazing protein!

Filed under: 2017 posts,Student posts @ 11:50 am

Aquaporin creates a channel for water molecules to pass through a membrane, so this molecules pops up when talking about osmosis. Aquaporin can be found in many organisms, from bacteria to eukaryotes and is made up of 4 identical chains.  The molecule itself is somewhat stationary with some rotation in the membrane, but the water molecules allow […]

Week 2 Animation Assignment

Filed under: 2017 posts,Student posts @ 10:23 am

This week please post a protein example from the Molecule of the Month and include an idea of how the dynamics of that protein could be conveyed artistically! Here’s a quick rundown of the artwork we looked at on Tuesday when we were discussing the portrayal of action: Velazquez’s Portrait of Prince Balthasar Gainsborough’s Blue […]

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