Sunday, July 25, 2010

Vertual reality shows the inside of proteins

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Proteins (also known as polypeptides) are organic compounds made of amino acids arranged in a linear chain and folded into a globular form.They consist of carbon,hydrogen,oxygen,nitrogen and sulfer and are composed of one or more chains of amino acids.Proteins are the essential fundamental components of every living cell on the planet earth.They include substances such as enzymes, harmones, antibodies which keep us alive.We consume them every day through food such as meat, fish, eggs, milk and legumes.

Now the structure of a protein is way too more complex then any one can imagine.There are four distinct leve of protein structure.
  • primary structure
  • Secondary structure
  • Ternary structure
  • Quaternary structure
Now finally to understand such a complex structure, a professor from the university of Arkansas has come up with a great way.And that is through virtual reality.
James F. Hinton, University Professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has worked with Virtalis, an advanced visualization company, to create a computer software program and projection system that lets a person look at larger-than-life, 3-D structures of proteins in virtual reality. This allows scientists to walk inside, through or around the protein of interest for investigating its structure and function.

"Proteins are very complex molecular structures," said Hinton"Using this system, we can answer many questions about interactions. Why does a toxic protein do what it does? Does the protein form a channel? If it does, what does it look like? And how can we block it? This system can act as a guide for what to do next."
He also quoted that "Thanks to the National Institutes of Health, which has funded the University's Center for Protein Structure and Function for many years, we have superb instrumentation,"and added "The immersive Virtual Reality System provides us with another way of enhancing the data we get from those instruments".
The ActiveMove system includes a 3-D projector with a rear projections screen, coupled with a personal computer, eyewear, head and hand tracking and Virtalis software and support. Funds from the Arkansas Biosciences Institute were used to purchase the Virtalis Virtual Reality System.
Just imagine wandering in a room of proteins......... Its awesome....!!!!!!!!!!

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