nanoscape i: encounter in the blood stream

Nanoscape I: Encounter in the Blood Stream, 1998

Ellen Sandor & (art)n: Stephan Meyers, Janine Fron and Fernando Orellana
Arthur Olson and David Goodsell, The Scripps Research Institute
PHSCologram: Duratrans, Kodalith, Plexiglas

30 x 30 inches

This image depicts a battle in the bloodstream, between molecules of the immune system and a viral invader. It represents a volume of blood plasma 75 nanometers on a side (one nanometer equals one billionth of a meter). Within the three-dimensional image, antibodies (Y- and T-shaped molecules in light blue and pink) are binding to a virus (the large green spherical assembly at the right), labelling it for destruction. The three-dimensional computer image shows all macromolecules present in the blood plasma at a magnification of about 10,000,000 times. At this size, individual atoms are about the size a beebee, and a red blood cell would fill an entire building.

The three-dimensional model depicted within the Phscologram was created by Arthur Olson using software developed in the Olson laboratory as part of the Atoms to Cells project, for modeling and visualizing complex molecular environments. This model is composed of over 450 individual protein domains, ranging in size from the 60 protomers making up the large, spherical poliovirus (in green) to a single, tiny insulin molecule (in magenta). The model was constructed using atomic level descriptions for each molecule, for a total of roughly 1.5 million atoms. Detailed surfaces were computed for each type of protein using MSMS by Michel Sanner, which were then smoothed to a lower resolution using the HARMONY spherical harmonic surfaces developed by Bruce Duncan. Each type of protein was then copied and placed, either with symmetry or randomly, using the SymmetryServer developed by Tom Macke. The image was rendered using the AVS dataflow visualization environment. To produce the PHSCologram 64 different views of the scene were rendered, simulating different positions of the viewer's eyes. The three-dimensional effect is achieved by slicing and interleaving the views vertically across the image, and using a plastic sheet with narrow vertical lines to channel a different view to each eye.