COOL IMAGES: Virtual Viruses

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Science  11 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5396, pp. 1951
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5396.1951a

It might make a nice Christmas tree ornament, this image of rhinovirus 14 (a culprit in the common cold) with its proteins colored in. “The colors come from my artistic inspiration of the moment,” explains Jean-Yves Sgro of the Institute for Molecular Virology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Sgro and his colleagues build viruses on their computers using x-ray crystallographic and microscopy data, then shade them to highlight their contours. The resulting images—rhinoviruses studded with antibodies, bumpy mosaic and simian viruses—are more than pretty: They also help researchers see how the virus latches onto cell receptors or might be vulnerable to a drug. The institute's Web gallery holds hundreds of virus and protein images, including movies and 3D stereo pictures. Click on Home to see the Virus of the Month feature, currently poliovirus.

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