※ SCIENCE AND ART ※ Beautiful copper sculptures of proteins!
Originally shared by Rich Pollett
KcsA Potassium Channel Mike Tyka science and art Copper Steel
#ScienceSunday curated by Allison Sekuler and Robby Bowles
Potassium channels form potassium-selective pores that span cell membranes. They are the most widely distributed type of ion channel found in virtually all living organisms. The four identical subunits are situated in a four-fold symmetrical manner around a central pore, which allows potassium ions to pass freely. At the top of the structure, formed by four loops lining the pore, a selectivity filter is situated which prevents other ions such as — sodium ions — from passing. The correct ions are detected by their size and charge. Note that that no active pumping of ions occurs; it merely allows passive conductance of ions down the con-centration gradient between the two sides of the membrane.
The KcsA is an archetypal membrane protein with eight tightly packed membrane-spanning a-helices. The four short helices in the center where the chain crosses half the membrane and then returns to the top are a more unusual feature.
Mike Tyka is a senior research fellow at the University of Washington and works on protein folding & prediction. He’s the co-founder of ALTS Makerspace in Seattle and co-founder of GrooveLabs who designed and built a 40ft playable Rubiks cube at Burning Man in 2009. In his spare time he enjoys working with metal sculpture and exploring the hidden beauty in world. — Images Mike Tyka.