Molecular Visualization Show-and-Tell

Here are some lovely illustrations by artistic pioneer Irving Geis…

Myoglobin: The numbered circles in the first are the amino acid postions of the protein, and the flat structure in the middle is the heme with an iron atom in the center. The letters designate folds and twists in the protein. It’s interesting to notice how he used shading in especially the first to add volume, and color in the second to accentuate the depth of the molecule. A very complicated design but not too unsightly.

Here’s a similar drawing of a much more complicated hemoglobulin. It seems to extend into space even more dramatically, in part because of his use of line weight:

This one shows contrasts between the two basic protein structures. I think the dotted lines indicate hydrogen bonds, while O=Oxygen, N=Nitrogen and the purplish balls are Carbon atoms. This one I think is particularly effective because of the color patches that indicate the three-dimensional form very subtlely:

This last one is similar in symbology and shows hydrogen bonding in a typical protein. Once again, a lot of information, but a very clear and concise presentation…




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