The University of Massachusetts Amherst

In Pictures

Bone-Break Fever: Using X-Ray Crystallography as a Tool to Prevent Disease

The above image depicts a high-resolution crystal structure of the dengue virus protease—an enzyme required for function of the virus, ‘bone-break fever.’ The deadly virus is a growing concern even beyond tropical regions as it has been detected in mosquitos in North America. This image was created as part of the x-ray crystallography process executed in biological chemist Jeanne Hardy’s laboratory. The procedure beams x-rays through lab-grown crystals made up of trillions of copies of a protein, enabling an atom-by-atom view of what the protein looks like. With this close-up view, graduate student Muslum Yildiz has shown how altering the structure of dengue virus protease using certain inhibitors may prevent the infection. Learn more.

Photo credit: Jeanne Hardy Laboratory