Structural Biology Demonstrations
Welcome to this visual introduction to the fascinating world of structural biology.
The following demonstrations will illustrate a number of important aspects of the
structure of organic molecules and biological macromolecules:
The demonstrations use the open source JMol software,
and should work in any recent web browser with HTML5 support, including Firefox, Google
Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer (starting with version 9). Each demonstration also
has an alternative Java version, whihch should work slightly faster, but requires a
Java plugin to be installed in the browser.
a relatively simple organic molecule, will be
used to explain the principles of the graphical representation
of atomic structures.
(Java version) is a first example
of a fairly small macromolecule, and provides an introduction into the
principles of protein structure.
The structure of an antibody
(Java version) reveals how
the same principles apply to larger proteins.
A DNA fragment
(Java version), showing us the
famous double helix structure,
represents a second major class of biological macromolecules.
Finally, we can observe how proteins and DNA can interact and build larger
structures, as exemplified by structure of a
Loading the larger models over the internet can take up to a minute.
It is also possible to download all structure files as ZIP file.
These models can be visualised with a range of different programs:
- Chimera is freely available, and has an extensive website with documentation.
- Swiss-PdbViewer is also freely available.
- PyMOL is another powerful visualisation tool,
but the general version is not freely available. There are however discounts
for educational purposes.
These demonstrations are based on the biochemistry practicals at the Faculty of Sciences and Applied Biological Sciences
at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Contact Lieven Buts for commonts or additional information.