Biocurious is a weblog about biology, quantified.

Fanciful structures

by PhilipJ on 22 October 2007

It is easy to become enamored with cartoon molecular structures, and it is getting increasly trivial to generate these images without any real data to support them. With that in mind, peruse these structures*, depicting a nanotube synthase, a rotary motor, and a cube-shaped DNA scaffold:

Of these three structures, only one has an actual crystal structure that can be found in the PDB, one is pure speculation, and the third has been synthesized and characterised, but there is no atomic-resolution structural data so far available.

Can you tell which is which?

* Reference in an upcoming post, I don’t want to give the answer away.



  1. sam    3501 days ago    #

    i don’t really understand the first one: what’s that popsicle stick thing? what in biology is an exact rectangle?


  2. PhilipJ    3501 days ago    #

    It is almost surely the nanotube, though why it was decided not to give it a nice structure too I could not say.


  3. sam    3501 days ago    #

    ah, nanotube. of course.

    by the way, i can’t see the comments on this post until i post a comment. weird. maybe problem with joyent. or with me.


  4. sam    3501 days ago    #

    ooo. maybe it’s a problem with firefox. i can see everything in IE.


  5. Eva    3500 days ago    #

    Hm. The DNA scaffold looks like it might be speculation. The motor looks familiar, but also looks too big to visualize in anything but EM, which leaves the nanotube synthase as the only one with a solved structure?


  6. Narin    3500 days ago    #

    My money bets:

    Actual Structure: Nanotube synthase
    Characterised: DNA scafold
    Made Up: Rotary Motor.


  7. Narin    3500 days ago    #

    My bets:

    Actual Structure: Nanotube synthase
    Characterised: DNA scafold
    Made Up: Rotary Motor.


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