Sunday, February 9, 2014

Crochet nucleosomes (and a size/scale wake-up call)

Even though I keep a printout of a beautiful reference guide from the Protein Data Bank above my bench, I guess I never really internalized the relative size DNA and proteins until I tried to crochet them side by side. I was originally hoping to represent each base and amino acid with an individual crochet stitch, but that would require scaling WAY down on the gauge for the protein. Laziness prevailed, and I represented the histones in these nucleosomes not as ribbon diagrams but with a crude surface view of the entire octamer.

Along the way, I also came across these beautiful renderings of ribosome tertiary structure that give a sense of the relative scale of protein secondary structure and nucleic acids.

Readers may note that this "DNA" has the wrong chirality. I know, I know. I've been kind of wanting to learn to crochet left-handed for a while now so I can more easily teach everyone...but this is definitely making it a higher priority.


Anonymous said...

Can you post some instructions about how you crochet these structures? I guess that there is some mapping between the amino acid sequence and the crochet loops etc.

Alison White said...

Do you have a pattern for this you are willing to share? I would love to make this as a scarf for my boss, Dr. Luger. She is the one that determined the structure of the nucleosome via Xray crystallography. I've been knitting for 12 years, but am new to crotchet.