Joel Kowit

Lexington, MA

BioStained Glass – representations of biological molecules or structures. Degradation: structure of the proteasome, an organelle responsible for degradation of abnormal proteins; an inhibitor of this structure has been used to treat half a million patients with multiple myeloma. Inhibition: the structure of the HIV protease, an enzyme required for HIV replication, showing Merck’s inhibitor, Indinavir, in the center, blocking the protease; these inhibitors have dramatically improved HIV treatment. Vibration: the organ of Corti of the inner ear showing the tectorial membrane, 3 rows of outer and 1 row of inner hair cells with cilia which, when bent by membrane vibrations, open ion channels that trigger electrical nerve impulses interpreted by the brain as sound. Recognition: the structure of “MHC I” proteins, the most important proteins of the immune system which hold in their groove small pieces of viral or bacterial proteins; T lymphocytes recognize foreign (viral) structures and mount a vigorous immune response to destroy the virus. Motion: the structure found in a cross section of flagella (e.g., sperm tails) or cilia (respiratory cilia, or protozoa). The “nine + two” structure of nine outer doublet microtubules and two central single microtubules has not changed over a billion years of evolution – never 8, or 10, or 9 + 1, a mystery for which there has never been an explanation. The other components show other key structures, including motor proteins (dynein) and the modified sector 5/6 shown by a color change at that position. All images aim to be scientifically accurate.