You can install a program called RasMol on your computer, and this program will allow you to view all sorts of molecules and to rotate them. Once you have saved this program on your computer, all you have to do is double-click on it and it will open. It is an older program, and no fancy installation is required. Although many molecules can be viewed with RasMol, it helps the most when viewing proteins.
I have made some molecules accessible for you to download from this web page for you to see in RasMol. You can download a couple of these into your laptop (by clicking on them one at a time and then saving them) into a folder where you will be able find it later. Then, once you open RasMol, go to the FILE menu and click on OPEN. You will need to get to the proper folder, and then double-click on one of the molecules I have given you, like human amylase, lysozyme, and human albumin. (I also gave you other molecules, but don't worry about those yet-- Raswin will allow one to view many different types of molecules). Here's an example of what a protein looks like when you are viewing it with Raswin... this is human amylase:
In order to see this, open RasMol and choose a protein like human amylase. Then, you will have to change the display mode. Go to the Display menu and select "ribbons." Then, to change the colors, go to the Colours menu and select "structure." With this viewing mode, you now see a ribbon for the polypeptide chain (instead of seeing each and every atom in the amino acids, although if you want that, just try ball and stick for the display mode) and it will be colored mainly pink and yellow. The polypeptide chain is color coded such that the pink regions are alpha-helices, and the yellow regions are beta-pleated sheets. Then, if you want to move the molecule around, just click and drag, and it will spin. OK? Give it a try!
If you would like to find more proteins to look at, go to http://cmm.info.nih.gov/modeling/pdb_at_a_glance.html . Have fun!
© 2006 STCC Foundation Press, content by Dawn A. Tamarkin, Ph.D.
Last changed: January 21, 2007