The model includes 17 viral and cellular proteins and 160,000 lipid molecules of 8 different types, with all components in proportion with a real HIV particle. The orange structure depicts the actual genome and the gray matter represents the parts of the virus acquired when contact is made with a human cell.
Images were created in approximately 3 months, based on data available in over 100 leading science journals and publications.
“This is one of many supramolecular structures already designed,” notes Ivan Konstantinov, the lead development engineer. “In February 2010, we launched a project aimed at creating molecular models of the most well-known human viruses. In addition to the HIV model, we’ve designed the swine flu virus (A/H1N1) and the adenovirus model. We specifically elected the HIV virus, as it’s a well studied object, allowing us to depict its different parts from envelope proteins to genome fragments.”
“My team considers such 3D models as a new way to present and promote scientific data about ubiquitous human viruses. We attempt to show viral particles as close to the real version as possible, offering the scientific community and general public - a better understanding of the complexity of these structures,” adds Konstantinov.
Ongoing work similar to Konstntinov’s, not only increases understanding and knowledge, but also provides additional fuel for researchers striving to find a cure for HIV-AIDS.