All proteins adopt a precise 3-dimensional structure depending on their composition, function, and location inside (or outside) of our cells. Subtle changes in this protein structure, a process known as conformational change, lead to the cellular signaling processes that underlie almost all of our bodily functions. Conformational change occurs in response to stimuli of many types including the binding of other proteins, the covalent addition of chemical side chains, mechanical signals, and chemical signals. The scientific advancements that have enabled us to measure these tiny changes are amazing and have enabled a much clearer understanding of both basic biology and disease pathologies. This piece depicts the retinal protein rhodopsin in its unactivated conformation on the left and its activated conformation on the right. Conformational change in rhodopsin is initiated by light, allowing binding of downstream proteins and initiation of the signal transduction cascade which leads to vision.
43"W x 39"H, 2016, NFS
For more about this quilt, please check out the blog posts about it.