Bruce P. Gaber
Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.
4. Fluid Mosaic Membrane Revisited
Flexible, fluid membranes composed of lipids (fats) enclose
every living cell. The research and artwork of Bruce
Gaber focus on these intriguing structures.
5. DNA-Lipid "Lipoplex"
"Fluid Mosaic Membrane Revisited" depicts
a rectangular patch of membrane, along with
several proteins (purple) which
spanning through the membrane. This artwork carefully
incorporates many elements of the knowledge that has been
accumulated about these important structures: a subtle
texture is used to represent to constant motion of the
interior of the membrane; the membrane edge is darkened,
top and bottom, based on data from x-ray diffraction; the
membrane was made transparent to reflect its oil-like
nature; and the deformation of the membrane suggests
long-range undulations. The image was created in
collaboration with Catherine Gaber, using Ray Dream
Designer and fine adjustments in Adobe Photoshop.
"DNA-Lipid Lipoplex" explores another aspect of lipids.
Techniques for delivering DNA into cells are being tested
for use in genetic engineering. The difficulty is finding a
method of transporting the highly charged DNA strands
across cell membranes. One method, based on a theory by
Phillip Flegner, is to package a strand of lipid-coated DNA
inside a shell composed of a lipid monolayer. The lipids,
shown in the artwork in green, are similar in chemical
character to the cell membrane, allowing the "lipoplex" to
fuse to the cell and deliver the DNA. The scale model and
its internal "plumbing" was built in Ray Dream Designer,
using a surface texture map to show a random array of lipid
headgroups on the surfaces. The lipid "rosettes" were
constructed on Silicon Graphics hardware with Cerius-2
and PSSHOW. The green lipids on the cross sections were
added in Adobe Photoshop.
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