Help your students understand how a flu virus infects a cell, as the hemagglutinin protein undergoes a dramatic change in shape during the process.
The hemagglutinin protein (HA) of the influenza virus plays a critical role in the infection process. The virus binds to the cell and triggers receptor-mediated endocytosis. As a result of this endocytosis, the pH of the environment drops from pH 7 (outside the cell) to pH 5 (inside the endosome). The hemagglutinin mini model shows the dramatically different structures of a region of the protein at these 2 different pHs. The elongated version of the HA (at pH 5) is the active form, which leads to the fusion of the viral membrane with the cell membrane. Following membrane fusion, the viral RNAs are released into the cell, enabling the virus to replicate and spread throughout the body.
Our protein mini models magnet-dock onto the base and can be removed for closer examination. Color coding enables students to clearly see the conformational changes that the protein undergoes. Each alpha carbon backbone segment of the hemagglutinin is colored differently from the N-terminus to the C-terminus (red, blue, yellow, cyan, and white). The colors of the hemagglutinin at pH 7 (5HMG.pdb) correspond to the colors of the hemagglutinin at pH 5 (1HTM.pdb).
This model can also be used in conjunction with the Tour of the Human Cell Panorama©, which illustrates a ß-cell that has been stimulated to produce antibodies in response to the flu vaccine. Tell the story of a flu shot in action with the combination of the Tour of a Human Cell Grand Panorama© and this Hemagglutinin Mini Model and the following additional mini models: Nucleosome, Ribosomes and Antibodies.
This 6.5'' 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. It is based on 1htm.pdb and 5hmg.pdb.
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