Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Actin Crazy

So I work in a lab that studies actin so why not print out the actin structure so I can learn more about it?

Here is a nice overview of actin and what it does. Briefly, actin is polymerized into filaments for lots of different purposes inside the cell.
Here are two structures that show actin bound to Dnase I (ATN1 on pdb; left) and actin bound in a filament (2Y83 on pdb; right). Notice how the pointed-end (that's the bottom in the picture) is more compressed in the one on the right, that is supposed to fit in a filament. Whereas the one on the left has the pointed end sort of splayed out, because there's supposed to be a DNase I bound to the DNase I loop (biologists are creative aren't they). Haven't had a chance to print out more of the right structure so I can make a filament, but I will do that as soon as possible.

Also I need to work out a concrete set of scale. I sort of eyeballed these and it shows, the one on the right is noticeably larger.

Woo! First protein structure print. You can see I was messing with options so the rightmost one came out stringy and hole-y.

Check it out! Half an actin filament! I need a better way to hold the monomers together.. double sided tape doesn't look great. Eventually I'll put pegs in them but it would also be great to be able to tack them on wherever, just for play purposes.


  1. Cool! I look forward to seeing your prints (and making some myself, once my printer arrives).

    Have you thought about ways to print non-surface representations? Maybe some sort of snap-together helix/sheet ribbon diagrams?

    1. I haven't actually... I'm having a bit of trouble making overhangs as is so I don't know if I would be able to manage something like a helix on my printer. Maybe if I go way bigger I could manage something like that. It would have to be in a lot of parts though. I'll have to try it out sometime.