Molecular Structure Determination and Imaging

John D. Furber

Master of Science, Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine.
Bachelor of Arts, Physics and Mathematics, University of California, Santa Cruz.

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molecule imageThe 3-dimensional structures of bio-molecules can give insight into their mechanisms of function, and can suggest strategies for drug design. A number of bio-molecular structures have been solved by two physical techniques: X-ray Scattering from crystals of purified molecules and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance analysis of molecules in solution.

After a structure has been solved, then 3D computer models can represent the structure on screen in various forms and from any viewing angle. However, difficulties with the physical methods (X-ray and NMR) have left the structures of many macro-molecules unsolved to date. Work is proceeding slowly on the very difficult problem of computationally predicting accurate 3D structural models solely from sequence data.

The image at left is a model of the "zinc finger" domain of a "zinc finger protein". This class of proteins is able to identify and bind to specific DNA sequences, thereby controlling the expression of specific genes.

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John D. Furber
E-mail: johnfurber at
Telephone: 1-352-271-8711
Gainesville, Florida.
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© 2000 - 2003 by John D. Furber. All rights Reserved.