“This week I made a set of virus trading cards! Viruses are surprisingly symmetrical, and I love them because they remind me of a biological version of snowflakes. Each trading card shows you the structure of the viral capsid – the protein shell protecting the genetic material inside a virus,” Lutz wrote in a blog post on her website.
Viruses are noncellular genetic elements that use a living cell for their replication and have an extracellular state. For this reason, viruses are considered non-living. These ultramicroscopic particles are made up of nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) surrounded by protein. Some are encased in a membranelike envelope, as well.
“To make the 3D animations I used UCSF Chimera, a free molecular modeling program. When scientists discover a new protein structure they upload it to the worldwide Protein Data Bank. Each entry is assigned a unique ID number, which you can use to call up the structure in programs like Chimera or PyMol.”
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 ZME Science
Enjoyed this article? Join 40,000+ subscribers to the ZME Science newsletter. Subscribe now!