Published: 
Jan 29, 2010

NASA/MSL-1 Protein Crystal Growth Primer - Step 5

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Science on Flight Day 11 of MSL-1

Protein Crystal Growth Primer: Step 5

computer-generated molecular protein crystal
... the structure of the protein. Each ball in this model represents a separate atom. At this scale, some proteins would be larger than your computer monitor. The models let us look for receptor sites and active areas, places where the molecule will interact with other molecules like a key and a lock, or the hook and pile strips of Velcro. From there, we can design drugs that help, or stop, the protein without affecting the rest of the body.

It takes just five steps to characterize a protein by crystallization....

step 1
step 2
step 3
step 4
step 5

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Author: Dave Dooling
Curator: Bryan Walls
NASA Official: John M. Horack