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  • First Fluorescent Protein 3-D Hologram Created
May 2011
EDINBURGH, Scotland, May 26, 2011 — Holoxica, a company spun out from the University of Edinburgh, has made the first medical imaging hologram of a green fluorescent protein (GFP) structure, allowing scientists to visualize the structure without any glasses or other visual aids. This is expected to help biologists and chemists whose understanding of molecular properties depends on appreciating their 3-D structures.

GFP is used to tag other proteins to make them glow luminously, allowing scientists to watch their movements and interactions with other cells. The protein originally was isolated from bioluminescent jellyfish and glows green when it is exposed to light.

Holoxica takes molecular descriptions from the Protein Data Bank, which contains all the atomic and positional information necessary to describe any protein structure, such as GFP. The resulting holograms are geometrically accurate and to scale. Any type of structure can be created in any orientation, including the popular ribbon structure or ball-and-stick atomic models. The hologram’s 3-D image appears in mid-air and changes perspective as you move around it.

“In developing this world first, we anticipate this 3-D modeling will enable the global biochemical community to visualize the complexities of molecules or proteins in a far more detailed way,” said Javid Khan, managing director of Holoxica. “It’s even possible to do some animation where the structure can be rotated as the viewer moves around the hologram, or it can peel away to reveal underlying structures from different angles.”

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