The Cubic Lipid Phase and Bacteriorhodopsin

The cubic lipid phase (CLP, aka LCP) is a novel type of membrane protein crystallization. It is composed of a bicontinuous surface (bilayer lipids, typically monoolein), of an average surface curvature of zero (minimal surface), that creates two mutually exclusive solvent compartments. A detergent-solubilized protein such as bacteriorhodopsin (BR, shown in magenta surrounding by 'green' detergent) is exposed to the CLP environment and integrates itself into the bilayer, most likely due to an energetic gain between membrane protein and lipid, versus membrane protein and detergent. The CLP-incorporated protein is believed to act as a reservoir for growing crystals.

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Image of The Structure of Collagen
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The Structure of Collagen

A collagenous fiber is a bundle of many macrofibrils. Each macrofibrilis in turn a bundle of numerous microfibrils. The microfibril is composed of many tropocollagen helices. Each of these assembled from three polypeptide chains twisted together.

An animation is available that allows the viewer to travel down the level of details from collagen bundles down to individual collagen (G-X-Y) triple helix.

Viagra - Sildenafil citrate

Viagra, an oral therapy for erectile dysfunction, is the citrate salt of sildenafil, a selective inhibitor of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-specific phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5). This image conveys the simple nature of such a powerful drug tha

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Image of Synaptic Junction - Release of Acetylcholine to across the Junction
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Synaptic Junction - Release of Acetylcholine to across the Junction

An image of the synaptic junction, the place where a nerve impulse passes from on neuron to the next. In this example, the neuromuscular junction the motor neuron synapses with the targeted muscle cell. The action potential (electrical impulse) moves along the motor neuron carries the depolarization wave to the terminal buttons of the presynaptic neuron. Once at this terminal, depolarization at the junction causes the release of acetylcholine (in red) at the presynaptic vesicle.

Absorption of acetylcholine at the postsynaptic junction by the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors generates associated ion channels to transport sodium across the membrane. This influx of electropositive ions locally depolarizes the postsynaptic muscle cell membrane in turn leading to a release of calcium ions from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. The ensuing mass-scale depolarization of the cell, a consequence of calcium ion release, initiates muscle contraction

Blood Circulation

Shown is a still image from an animation of blood flow in blood vessel of a normal and healthy individual.

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Image of The DNA within.  the Visible Chromosome
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The DNA within. the Visible Chromosome

An idealized representation of a chromosome with an overexagerated molecule of DNA (double-helix) shown inside.

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes in somatic cells. The chromosome is composed of a very long DNA molecule and associated proteins. The DNA is what is generally understood as the 'information molecule' that carries portions of the hereditary information of an organism.

Fibrous Muscles

A proof of concept illustration of muscles to illustrate displacement mapping methods for modeling of anatomy.

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Image of High Resolution Electron Density
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High Resolution Electron Density

Visualization of the electron density of a protein molecule. The "chicken-wire" cage represents a minimal surface that is contoured at a desired "sigma" level.

Autoantigenic epitopes of Molecule X

This is a view of an autoantigen (self-antigen), specifically a protein autoantigen that mediates disease in patients having mutations in the gene that produces this molecule. A the protein level, the mutations give rise to conformation changes in the protein that reveal an otherwise cryptic epitope to antibody binding.

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Image of Goodpasture
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Goodpasture

Goodpasture's Syndrome is a form of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidney glomeruli) involving progressive decrease in kidney function, accompanied by a cough with bloody sputum.

Goodpasture's Syndrome is a hereditary condition where the dissociation of the collagen NC1 hexamers cause glomerulonephritis.

Antibodies Measured Up

Antibodies are typically represented by a "Y"-shaped diagram. The two arms of the Y represent the epitope-binding regions. Antibodies are also generally believed to be 'small'. Shown here is an isosurface contour plot of an antibody (crystal structure, at the top) and a ~180 KDa collagen NC1 hexamer (bottom).

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Image of Serotonin Receptor
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Serotonin Receptor

Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) is unique among the monoamines in that its effects are felt by as many as 13 distinct heptahelical, G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and one ligand-gated ion channel (or more). These receptors are divided into seven distinct classes (5-HT(1) to 5-HT(7)) largely on the basis of their structural and operational characteristics.

Shown here is the general structure of the 5-HT1-class of these GPCR's. This structure is based on a homology model and molecular-dynamics simulation. This illustration represents an accurate look at the the receptor structure.

Other views are available, as well as a rotation-style animation.

Serotonin Transporter (5-HT)

Findings suggest that the serotonin transporter (5-HT) might be linked to both neuroticism and sexual behaviour as well as to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Here is represented a conceptualized structure of the molecule based on scientific findings.

A transporter protein found in the plasma membrane of serotonergic neurons is responsible for re-uptake of the transmitter. The serotonin transporter is a carrier of serotonin molecules across the biological membrane. Transporters undergo conformational changes and move one or more molecules per "cycle", unlike channels that stay open or closed, thus allowing floods of molecules to move across bilayers membranes.

The serotonin transporter (SERT) resembles other biogenic amine transporters (i.e. norepinephrine and dopamine transporters). The protein?s structure is composed of twelve transmembrane (TM) helices with an extracellular loop between TM helices 3 and 4. Both polypeptide termini are located within the cytoplasm and six putative phosphorylation sites (potential targets for protein kinase A and protein kinase C) exist in the same compartment. The areas important for selective serotonin (5-HT) affinity are localized within helices 1 through 3 and helices 8 through 12. A binding site for 5-HT is believed to also be the target of selective inhibitors.

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Image of The NC1 Hexamer - Advanced Shading in Molecular Il
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The NC1 Hexamer - Advanced Shading in Molecular Il

A proof-of-concept study of advanced shading methods for molecular illustration. In this example, we have used the Type IV collagen NC1 trimer (obtained from the hexamer crystal structure) as our protein to illustrate. The shading of the CPK representation is soft with area shadows that accent the grooves and ridges on the protein surface.

Barbarians at the Gate

A digital painting of the cloacked nature of viruses.

Looking for more virus images and illustrations? Click here for more pictures of virii.

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Image of The Cubic Lipid  Phase  (aka. Lipid cubic phase, L
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The Cubic Lipid Phase (aka. Lipid cubic phase, L

The cubic lipid phase is, of many things, a means to crystallize membrane proteins.

Shown here is a 5x5 3D matrix of the cubic lipid phase. The bicontinuous surfaces are colored in blue and red to illustrate the two distinct and continous volumes.

The Bacteriorhodopsin D85S Mutant

Cover of the X issue of the Journal of Molecular Biology. The D85S mutant is unique in that its point mutation resulting in the loss of the Schiff Base counterion allows it to pump anions in a direction opposite of proton flow in native BR.

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Image of Viral Assault of the Cell
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Viral Assault of the Cell

A simplified view of viral invasion of a host cell. The viruses (shown in red) bind to the host cell (blue) via receptor binding (cellular protrusions). Once bound, the virus is internalized and its nucleic acid is realized to initiate its reproductive cycle.

Looking for more virus images and illustrations? Click here for more pictures of virii.

Decipher

The human genome is known, comprised of billions of DNA "units", the nucleotides of our blueprint. Illustration represents the underlying properties of this unique information molecule.

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Image of Mechanoviral
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Mechanoviral

Within the theme of nanotechnology, this piece represents the "industrialization" of viruses. While being more artistically liberated than other technically accurate works within the Symmation gallery, this piece conveys what does not exist. Science fiction of sorts....

Looking for more virus images and illustrations? Click here for more pictures of virii.

SARS Avian Influenza Virus - First Pictures!

New Symmation SERIES: Avian Influenza/Flu Influenza viruses that infect birds are called ? avian influenza viruses.? Only influenza A viruses infect birds. All known subtypes of influenza A virus can infect birds. However, there are substantial genetic differences between the subtypes that typically infect both people and birds. Within subtypes of avian influenza viruses there also are different strains (described in ?Strains?).

Here, a virus is depicted, specifically its capsid with the protein "spikes" - more to come!

Looking for more virus images and illustrations? Click here for more pictures of virii.

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Image of C-Reactive Protein
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C-Reactive Protein's role in heart disease - Molecular graphics, illustration, picture stock

Researchers have recently reported that a protein produced by the body during inflammation is a bigger cause of heart disease than cholesterol.

The research published in the New England Journal of Medecine found that inflammation in the body can trigger heart attacks.

The cause of the trouble is a protein known as C-Reactive Protein (CRP).

Structurally, CRP is a pentamer, as shown in the graphical illustration here. In this image of C-reactive protein, each of the monomers is shown in a different color (chain-coloring). CRP is composed of five identical noncovalently associated monomers symmetrically arranged around a central pore (pentraxin family). Two antiparallel β-sheets with a flattened jellyroll topology similar to that of lectins (such as concanavalin) make up the monomers.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a phylogenetically conserved plasma protein, meaning that it is present in the blood. Involved in the systemic response to inflammation, its concentration increase during this event - a characteristic that serves as a clinical diagnostic marker for inflammation. C-reactive protein is believed to be a part of the innate immune response.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is also recognizes molecular patterns found on cells undergoing apoptosis (cell death) as well as found on the surface of pathogens.

*note:This image can be highly customized at little additional expense. Furthermore, rotation animations are available as well. Illustrations, in 3D and 2D-illustrative styles are also available. Electron density graphics are available, but would require at least a 48 hour turnaround.

Pancreas-Derived Multipotent Progenitor

Pancreas-Derived Multipotent Progenitor (PMP) colonies produce cell types of pancreatic and neural lineage. PMP colonies proliferate from single pancreatic precursors and not by cell aggregation. This illustration was produced for the Beta Cell Biology Consortium to illustrate a synopsis article on PMP's.

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Image of Type IV Collagen Disassembly
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Type IV Collagen Disassembly

In the (345)2 Type IV collagen NC1 hexamer, dissociation can occur via two pathways. Either monomers or dimers are formed, the latter requiring cross-protomer covalent bonds.

In the first instance, where covalent bonds do not exist between protomers (trimers - blue/green/red), dissociation of the hexamer leads to monomers.

When covalent bonds exist between protomers, dimers are formed when hexamer dissociation occurs. the bonds are covalent cross-links shown in white.

Note: The EA Goodpasture epitope is shown in yellow.

Emerging Foes - virus vs. Man

Marbug, ebola, avian, influenza - these are just some of the viruses that threaten Man.

This piece represents a concept, rather than some detailed scientific topic.

Looking for more virus images and illustrations? Click here for more pictures of virii.

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Image of Molecular Animation of Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) Binding / Docking to Viagra
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Molecular Animation of Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) Binding / Docking to Viagra

The phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor, Viagra TM (Sildenafil), is shown to bind to phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5).

Part of the physiological process of erection involves the release of nitric oxide (NO) in vasculature of the corpus cavernosum. NO activates the enzyme guanylate cyclase which results in increased levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), leading to smooth muscle relaxation in blood vessels supplying the corpus cavernosum, resulting in increased inflow of blood and an erection.

PDE5 inhibitors inhibit the degradation of cGMP by phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5), increasing bloodflow to the penis during sexual stimulation.

View a molecular animation of Viagra/Sildenafil binding to PDE5 (Movie size: 16.6MB). With scientific accuracy, the binding pocket opens up to allow the drug to bind to the enzyme. Read more about molecular animations.

View other Viagra/PDE5-related porfolio entries:
Viagra and Phosphodiesterase 5 Complex
Viagra - Sildenafil citrate

Molecular Animation of DNA - Information by Atoms

Molecular animation of the information molecule - deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA for short. The two strands of DNA are shown slowly rotating within solution, and ions are shown floating by.

DNA is composed of two strands of deoxyribonucleic acid. Each strand is a string of nucleotides - the individual building blocks referred to as A, T, C and G. Put together, these create the language of the genes they encode. Altogether, DNA is a very stable and is replicated as the cell divides.

View a molecular animation / movie of DNA (Movie size: 11.2MB). Read more about molecular animations.

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Image of SARS Coronavirus Virion (CoV) - A Halo of Spikes
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SARS Coronavirus Virion (CoV) - A Halo of Spikes

The coronavirus family is named after the corona, or halo, effect that is seen surrounding the virus when viewed by electron microscopy. The capsid protein of the virus is the spike, or S, glycoprotein. This protein interacts with the host receptor in order to bind to the cells and then fuse with the host cell membrane.

Shown here is an idealized view of the virus, showing its external capsid - made up of the spike glycoproteins.

Looking for more virus images and illustrations? Click here for more pictures of virii.

Avian Flu Virus - SARS Cellular Infection - Picture, Image, Illustration

The coronavirus family is named after the corona, or halo, effect that is seen surrounding the virus when viewed by electron microscopy. The capsid protein of the virus is the spike, or S, glycoprotein. This protein interacts with the host receptor in order to bind to the cells and then fuse with the host cell membrane.

Shown here is an idealized view of the virus, showing its external capsid - made up of the spike glycoproteins. Showing through the virus is the internal viral capsid, and within the RNA (green) and N proteins (yellow). The overall image shows the release of freshly built virii from the host cell.

Looking for more virus images and illustrations? Click here for more pictures of virii.

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Image of The Development of the Blastocyst
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The Development of the Blastocyst

A rendition of the development of an embryo from a one-cell (with somatic division occuring) to a early and late blastocyst. It is during this stage of development that the germ layers are produced. Furthermore, in the early blastocyst (blastomere) stage, embryonic stem cells are harvested from the inner cell mass (now shown).

This composition is available in ultra-high resolution and is also customizable to fit your needs and message.

Adenovirus Binding to Cell Surface - Viral Infection

The adenovirus is shown as its icosahedral morphology. The first event in the infection process is binding to the surface of the host cell. Shown on the host cell are channels and receptors.

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Image of Tuberculosis (TB for Tubercle Bacillus)
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Tuberculosis (TB for Tubercle Bacillus)

Tuberculosis (abbreviated as TB for Tubercle Bacillus) is a common and deadly infectious disease caused by the mycobacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Mycobacterium bovis, which most commonly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) but can also affect the central nervous system, lymphatic system, circulatory system, genitourinary system, bones, joints, and even the skin.

Shown here is a visual look at a TB culture. The media visually emulates a scanning electron micrograph with false color added.

Hepatitis C Virus Image - The CDC Raises Awareness to Baby Boomers

The hepatitis-C virus is illustrated here, with its single-stranded RNA genome (helix: red for 5' and 3' NTR, white for structural proteins and red for non-structural proteins) protected by a protein-based and icosahedral capsid (blue), which in turn is wrapped within a lipid bilayer envelope (green) that contains key proteins E1 (yellow) and E2 (orange). The Hepatitis C virus E1 and E2 envelope proteins are the major players in all events required for virus entry into target cell.

The CDC now recommends one-time test for hepatitis C for all baby boomers to check for infection. Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting primarily the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection is often asymptomatic, but chronic infection can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis, which is generally apparent after many years. In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop liver failure, liver cancer or life-threatening esophageal and gastric varices.

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Image of Virion - Capsid Structure
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Virion - Capsid Structure

A view of an idealized virus particle, adopting icosahedral geometry. The protruding appendages illustrate the virus envelope proteins that bind to host cell receptors.

Looking for more virus images and illustrations? Click here for more pictures of virii.

Molecular Planetary Gear

Planetary gears convert shaft power from one angular frequency to another. This model of a nano-motor was derived from K. Eric Drexler book, Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation.

We have developed in-house plugins to allow us to create standard 3D models from nanotechnology data files and this is availlable as a service upon request.

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Image of DNA Cleavage by Restriction Enzyme EcoRV
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DNA Cleavage by Restriction Enzyme EcoRV

The restriction enzyme EcoR V is shown (colored in green and blue for each monomer in the homodimer). The DNA is colored in standard CPK colors and is shown as bound to the enzyme prior to cleavage. An animation of this process is currently in production, taking into account experimental evidence of the mechanism involved with this blunt-end

The Mitochondrion - The Cellular Power Plant

Mitochondria are the providers of energy for cellular processes. These are membrane-bound organelles and, like the nucleus, have a double membrane. TUnlike the smooth outer membrane, the inner membrane is highly convoluted, forming folds called cristae. The cristae greatly increase the inner membrane surface area allowing for additonal energy production.

The idealized model shown here represents the convoluted shape of this vital organelle. The inner light effect is meant to illustrate the energy produced by the respiratory apparatus composed of proteins, cofactors, and membranes.

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Image of Crystallographic Merohedral Twinning
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Crystallographic Merohedral Twinning

Merohedral twinning is a special case of crystallographic twinning where the lattices of twin (different) domains (in a single crystal) overlap in three dimensions. An effect is superimposable lattices when the rotational symmetry of the lattice exceeds the rotational symmetry of the space group.

In this image, the crystal's unit cells are shown (3D squares, dark edges) with their contents as 7's. The crystal on the left is composed of two domains that represent a single untwinned crystal. The crystal on the right illustrates a merohedral twin, with the top domain rotated 180 degrees (rotation shown by red arrow).

An animation is available upon request.

Fluid Mosaic Model of the Membrane Bilayer

A simplified view of the Fluid Mosaic Model of the lipid bilayer only is shown. The lipid tails (e.g. acyl, phytanyl, etc...) are the thin/long protrusions from the headgroup (the large spheroid moiety).

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Image of Venn Diagram of the 20 Natural Amino Acids
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Venn Diagram of the 20 Natural Amino Acids

In order to better understand the physico-chemical properties of amino acids, a Venn diagram clearly illustrates their common properties.

This can be used as a study aid for students of all levels (from high school to graduate level to beyond).

Gravitational Waves in the Spacetime Continuum

No, this is not Star Trek! This is really a theory on which active work is being pursued by astrophysicists. The existence of curved spacetime opens up the possibility that ripples (or gravitational waves) can exist in the spacetime continuum. Methods of detecting these could be from the observation of colliding black holes, supernova explosions and the black hole at the core of our Galaxy.

This image illustrates the release of gravity waves, as the result of a supernova explosion. The origin of the waves is at the wave-point. The waves actually travel in three dimensions but are represented here in two dimensions. The magnifying glass suggests the power of observation by scientists to reveal such gravity waves.

In reality, since these waves represent oscillations in the force of gravity, one could conceive of using lasers (strapped to masses) to measure the effect of the waves on the masses (search LIGO in google....).

An animation is available upon request.

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Image of Cellular Urban Life - Made to be Busy
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Cellular Urban Life - Made to be Busy

Extracellular environment can be considered as urban because of the density that cells pack against one another. Physiological as well as molecular requirements necessitate such a lifestyle.

This illustration represents a view on extracellular life, showing how some cell types can associate into granules whilst others, such as immune cells, can roam throughout this environment. Cellular crowding is completely normal and a requirement of life for multicellular organisms.

Viagra and Phosphodiesterase 5 Complex

Human phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) is the protein that viagra binds to and inhits. Viagra has no direct relaxant effect that leads to penile erection but it enhances the effect of nitric oxide (NO) by inhibiting PDE5. PDE5 is responsible for the degradation of cyclic GMP (cGMP) in the penile corpus cavernosum. When sexual stimulus leads to an increase in cGMP levels, smooth muscles relax allowing for blood to flow into the penis. This piece illustrates the enzyme, PDE5, in a novel box-type ribbon diagram, with a smooth gradient over the length of the protein polypeptide chain. Viagra itself is shown as space-filling cartoon-type spheres.

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Image of Intracellular Density
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Intracellular Density

This illustration is an abstract representation of the intracellular milieu. The cytoplasm is a densely packed volume where organelles and molecules interact in highly complex pathways. Imagine the New York City New Year's celebration in Times Square with all those people. Now image expanding those people in the vertical. Imagine being to walk through such a 3D environment? Probably not, but cells are even more dense and molecules, organelles, and such are involved in a myriad of reactions...

Cover Image - Current Opinions in Structural Biology

One of our cover images, from our archives. The image was created for the journal Current Opinions in Structural Biology and displays the protein bacteriorhodopsin floating above a purple membrane sheet.

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Image of Exploring Gene Expression in the Mouse with Microarrays
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Exploring Gene Expression in the Mouse with Microarrays

An illustrative look into the the use of microarray technology to better understand gene expression, or protein expression, in model organisms such as the mouse (Mus musculus).

This illustration is available for licensed managed use and is available as very high-resolution.


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