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Educación química

versión impresa ISSN 0187-893X


RODRIGUEZ-SOTRES, Rogelio et al. Simulated Site-directed Mutations in a Virtual Reality Environment as a Powerful Aid for Teaching the Three-dimensional Structure of Proteins. Educ. quím [online]. 2009, vol.20, n.4, pp.461-465. ISSN 0187-893X.

Molecular Visualization of the consequences of site-directed mutations can help teaching the structure-activity relationships of proteins to undergraduate and graduate students. However, experimental structural data are usually limited to a few mutations, mostly at active sites, and real-time computations are too time-consuming for standard classroom sessions. Since pre-calculation of all possible mutations for a given protein is impractical, a database of models with either a subtle (alanine), or aggressive site-mutations of the yeast pyrophosphatase homodimer was created. The models are displayed with the VMD package at IXTLI (virtual reality facility at UNAM). We programmed a user interface to create the illusion of real-time mutations at a mouse click. In a session, students worked with the program, under a semi-guided assignment, finding the interface friendly and learning to exploit the software quickly. Their performances varied substantially, but most were highly motivated, and seemed to have benefited from the session.

Palabras llave : Virtual reality; molecular visualization; protein structure and energetics.

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