This advanced protein-folding kit reinforces lessons introduced in 3DMD’s Amino Acid Starter Kit©, and then allows your students to explore structure and function.

Small teams first focus on the structure of ß-globin by:

  • Using folding maps to mark selected amino acids (primary structure) and alpha helices (secondary structure)
  • Folding the protein into its 3-D tertiary structure, adding connectors for stability
  • Assembling the 3 fragments together to form the ß-globin protein
  • Adding the heme group with an iron atom and O2

After exploring oxygen transport, your students can remove the glutamic acid at position 6 on the ß-globin model and replace it with valine. The single-point mutation from a negatively charged amino acid to a hydrophobic one causes red blood cells to clump together and assume the sickle cell shape.

The kit includes 3 mini toobers (red, green, and blue), 3 color-coded laminated folding maps, 4 color-coded bags (blue, green, red, and yellow) containing parts to mark and connect the fragments in the 3-D protein structure, 3 laminated Amino Acid Side Chain Charts© and 3 wooden dowels. The ß-Globin Folding Kit© can be used successfully by 6 to 9 students working in 3 teams.