Fighting the Flu
visually depict the relationship between molecular structure and function.
Visual Representation of Biomolecular Structure & Function
Professor Derek Ng,
University of Toronto
Chimera, Cinema 4D, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator
One of the most challenging viruses for vaccine development has been the influenza virus, responsible for multiple devastating pandemics. The surface properties and glycosylation patterns differ extensively among influenza subtypes which presents a large barrier to effective vaccine strategies. Despite these variations, certain structures within influenza proteins contain highly conserved architectures which can be targeted by antibodies.
Two of these proteins, hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) are cell surface glycoproteins that enable the virus to enter and escape from host cells. This spread shows how different antibodies can target and bind these crucial proteins to combat and destroy the influenza virus.
After choosing a topic, I conducted a media audit and identified the characters and environments that were important for my story. Using the Protein Data Bank (PDB), I found complete structural data for both hemagglutinin head and stem subunits, as well as specific head and stem antibodies.
What's the "big picture" question?
Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) against hemagglutinin (HA) provide exciting insight into structure-based designs of novel vaccines targeting influenza!
How do the binding interactions differ between HA head and HA stem bnAbs and how effective are they against different strains of influenza?
1. bnAbs against HA head block viral attachment onto host cells
2. bnAbs against HA stem block fusion to endosome and viral release
Several layouts were created using illustrator. In chimera, the domains of interest were isolated and exported as .wrl files. The .wrl files were brought into Cinema 4D to create the composition.
I opted to place both antibodies on the same side of the hemagglutinin molecule since I knew the final deliverable was going to be a magazine spread and it would be more clear for reading.