3D-printed Hemoglobin

Hämoglobin ist das Zeug in unserem Blut, das für die rote Farbe verantwortlich ist und das Steffen VFX-Animationsstudio aus Brooklyn hat zusammen mit McFarlane Toys aus Daten ein 3D-Model erstellt, dieses dann knapp 700millionenfach vergrößert und auf einem 3D-Printer ausgegeben. Sweet!

By far my favorite protein is Hemoglobin. Not only does it have an interesting conformational structure, it’s Heme Group contains 4 iron atoms! This is an organic protein, caring around a metal atom, using iron like a magnetic tool in order to transport oxygen throughout our bodies! All of a sudden, here’s a chance to not only use an actual 3D printer, but have the help of some of the best toy makers out there. David put me in touch with Michael Gulen, a true master of his craft. Michael and I briefly discussed the specifics, and promised I send him a model just as soon as I could prepare one.

The process on my end began with a good dataset of Hemoglobin from the RCSB protein databank. At its simplest, a PDB file, or Protein DataBase file, is little more than a matrix of points with additional information about radii. Each point represents the location of a specific type of atom, and sometimes a bit more about its amino acid group. Combined together, you have a collection of all the locations of every atom in a protein, enough to derive a number of different visualization modalities.

3D Reconstruction of Hemoglobin (via Notcot)