Art of Science 2013 Online Gallery  «Prev | Thumbnails | Next »

Phanourios Tamamis (postdoc),George Khoury (graduate student), James Smadbeck (graduate student), and Christodoulos A. Floudas (faculty)
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Cell membranes isolate the cellular environment from its surroundings, providing protection from outside influences. These membranes are covered by transmembrane proteins, which act as "gateways" for communication between the inside and outside of the cell. CXCR4 is a transmembrane protein that plays a significant role in the immune system, and is important for the recruitment of white blood cells. Unfortunately, the HIV virus utilizes CXCR4 as an entry point into host cells, propagating infection. How can we prevent this? We have computationally designed several peptides that strategically bind to CXCR4, thus preventing HIV entry into cells. This image depicts one of our novel peptides in the top-center, seen as a half "wreath" in orange-white color (the CXCR4 proteins are shown in blue and green).