Visualization of GIRK Protein Channels
GIRK channels (G protein-coupled inwardly-rectifying potassium channel) are a type of protein found in neurons and have many roles in the nervous system, including memory and pain perception. Improper function of this protein has been linked to altered neural signaling and cell death. A better understanding of how these channels function is important to determine the full scope of their physiological role and possible contributions to disease states.
In this project, a process to create videos and interactive models in PyMOL (an open source molecular visualization program) will be developed and refined to demonstrate protein characteristics using GIRK channel proteins as a template. This process will then be adapted to visualize other proteins of educational interest.
The ability to visualize and manipulate proteins in a 3-D environment will aid understanding of specific structure based protein functions for research purposes leading to a better understanding of physiological function. This will also provide an educational tool for students to learn about general protein structure and structure based functions.
Click the movie below to see the Protein Visualization in detail.