Don’t just tell your students how aquaporin moves
water across a lipid bilayer. Show them its structure and discuss its
function with our colorful 3-D protein model.
Water molecules rapidly flow in single file through the aquaporin
channel – a membrane-spanning protein. Its structure consists of 6 alpha
helices and 2 half alpha helices that form an hourglass shape through
which water molecules move one at a time. Two asparagine amino acids are
strategically positioned at the narrowest point of the hourglass and
provide selectivity to this channel, allowing only water molecules to
pass through. While the process is not fully understood, many
researchers believe that the water molecules roll over as they bind with
The 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded "for discoveries concerning channels in cell membranes" jointly with one half to Peter Agre "for the discovery of water channels" and with one half to Roderick MacKinnon "for structural and mechanistic studies of ion channels".
This 3.75'' model is made of plaster by rapid prototyping and should be
handled with care. Mini models will break if dropped, held tightly or
handled roughly. Its PDB file is 1FQY.pdb.