Seeing the Invisible: 50 Years of Macromolecular Visualization

Representations of Cu,Zn Superoxide Dismutase (SOD)

The ribbon visualization is a very effective way to illustrate the elegant and beautiful complexity of how different proteins fold up to play their biological role.

Colored ribbon drawing of SOD

Colored ribbon drawing of SOD

Large, colored ribbon drawing of SOD
Jane enlarged her pen-and-ink ribbon drawing of SOD (PDB file 1sod) and colored it to give it an even clearer three-dimensional feel. Blue arrows are the beta strands, connected in an antiparallel Greek key topology. The active-site copper and zinc are shown by discs of those metals.

2007 Protein Society meeting SOD poster

2007 Protein Society meeting SOD poster

SOD poster image for 2007 Protein Society meeting
This composite image shows the SOD ribbon drawing at left, electron density and all-atom contact dots for the dimer interface in center, and at right the Mage computer-drawn ribbons for the two dimer molecules in the repeating asymmetric unit of the crystal (orange/yellow and blue/green).

Photograph of laser-etched SOD ribbons. This was a gift from the Biophysical Society to Jane in 2014 after her presidency.

Photograph of laser-etched SOD ribbons. This was a gift from the Biophysical Society to Jane in 2014 after her presidency.

Laser-etched SOD ribbons
This three-dimensional representation shows the two dimer molecules in the crystal asymmetric unit of SOD.

Foam model of SOD

Foam model of SOD

Foam model of SOD at low resolution
SOD dimer electron density at low resolution (5.5Å), made of glued-together layers of styrofoam. This crude model nonetheless shows the dimer contact, and the β-barrels (a type of β-sheet) as cylindrical slabs of density. [Thomas et al. 1974 J. Biol. Chem. 249: 5677]