Seeing the Invisible: 50 Years of Macromolecular Visualization

Representations of Triose Phosphate Isomerase (TIM)

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 TIM

Large, colored ribbon drawing of TIM
Jane enlarged her pen-and-ink ribbon drawing of TIM (PDB file 1tim) and used pastels to give it an even clearer three-dimensional feel. Green arrows are the eight β-strands, arranged in a twisted cylinder, with arrowheads showing the N-to-C-terminal direction of protein synthesis. The eight brown α-helices form an outer cylinder. This arrangement is known as a TIM barrel, or (αβ)8 barrel, which is one of the most common protein "folds". Jane is a fan of editing wikipedia and contributing images to Wikimedia Commons, and this image was Picture of the Day on wikipedia for Nov. 19, 2009

Pen-and-ink ribbon drawing of TIM

Pen-and-ink ribbon drawing of TIM
One of the original drawings, for a side view of the TIM barrel.

TIM ribbon drawing, down barrel axis

TIM ribbon drawing, down barrel axis
The TIM barrel fold is even more easily recognized from a "top" view down into the active site.

3D printed TIM ribbon model

TIM ribbon model made by 3D printer

The Cover of Nature, August 1977

Nature cover, 1977
This cover image illustrated the article "β-sheet topology and the relatedness of proteins." At right are worm drawings for three common types of β-barrel proteins, and at left are the analogous decorative motifs used on baskets and vases, for the up-and-down meander pattern of rubredoxin, the Greek key motif of immunoglobulins, viral capsids and SOD, and an ancient Anasazi jar pattern that matches the TIM-barrel fold.

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