Eric di Luccio
Science, stardust and other Intergalactic considerations

by Eric

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Biophysical society meeting 2011: Prize Winner!

I won the second place at the art of science image contest during the 2011 annual meeting of the Biophysical Society at Baltimore. Thank you all for voting for my image and congratulations to the winner of the contest, Jorge Bernardino!

My image is the hexameric assembly of the Quinolinate phosphoribosyl transferase enzyme (BNA6) from S. cerevisiae. Quinolinic acid phosphoribosyl transferase (QAPRTase, EC is a 32 kDa enzyme encoded by the BNA6 gene in yeast and catalyzes the  formation of nicotinate mononucleotide from quinolinate and 5-phosphoribosyl-1-pyrophosphate (PRPP). QAPRTase plays a key role in the tryptophan degradation pathway via kynurenine, leading to the de novo biosynthesis of NAD and clearing the neurotoxin quinolinate. The image shows the hexameric surface with electrostatic properties. The structure was solved by APBS and visualized and rendered with VMD 1.8.7.  The electrostatic field lines are displayed and are “emerging” out of the 3 active sites.

From my 2008 paper “Comprehensive x-ray structural studies of the quinolinate phosphoribosyl transferase (BNA6) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae”; E. di Luccio, and D.K. Wilson, (2008) Biochemistry, 47(13); 4039-50. Epub Mar 6, 2008.

Link to Biophysical Society website.

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