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A soft and transparent handleable protein model
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The field of structural biology currently relies on computer-generated graphical representations of three-dimensional (3D) structures to conceptualize biomolecules. As the size and complexity of the molecular structure increases, model generation and peer discussions become more difficult. It is even more problematic when discussing protein–proteininteractions wherein large surface area contact is considered. This report demonstrates the viability of a new handleable protein molecular model with a soft and transparent silicone body similar to the molecule's surface. A full-color printed main chain structure embedded in the silicone body enables users to simultaneously feel the molecular surface, view through the main chain structure, and manually simulate molecular docking. The interactive, hands-on experience deepens the user's intuitive understanding of the complicated 3D proteinstructure and elucidates ligand binding and protein–proteininteractions. This model would be an effective discussion tool for the classroom or laboratory that stimulates inspired learning in this study field.
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