A 3DMD Paper BioInformatics & Protein Folding Activity© 

Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit©

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Insulin is an ideal protein to illustrate the post-translational processing of a protein. Our kit will let your students explore how a specific sequence of nucleotides encodes a corresponding sequence of amino acids, which then determines its final 3D protein structure.


Photo Gallery

Mapping Primary and Secondary Structure



Kit Contents

Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit©




Laminated Insulin Mini Toober Folding Map 1 3 6
Laminated Student mRNA Map 1 3 6
Laminated Teacher mRNA Map 1 1 1
Mini Toobers (orange and purple) 2 6 12
Parts Bag 1 3 6
Plastic Side Chains 6 18 36
Green Plastic Clips    6 18 36
Support Posts  3 9 18
Red Endcaps       2 6 12
Blue Endcaps  2 6 12
Red Markers  6 18 36
Yellow Markers 4 12 24
Strip of White Dots 1 3 6


Teacher Resources

Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit© Contents

Find information about the contents of your Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit©.

Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit© Background Information

Background information provides an overview of the properties of amino acids and the numbering conventions for DNA, mRNA and protein sequences, as well as an introduction to the so-called Kozak Sequence, which is required by the ribosome to initiate the translation process.

Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit© Primary Student Handout

In this activity, your students will explore the steps involved in the synthesis of the protein, starting with insulin mRNA. Specifically, they will learn how this mRNA is translated by the ribosome into a precursor form of insulin, and then how the precursor is processed to create the final, functional protein.

Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit© mRNA Coding Activity

The reason we have DNA is to encode the sequence of amino acids that make up proteins. Proteins perform many of the important functions in our bodies. This worksheet is focused on the coding of mRNA as it is transcribed from 1 of the 2 strands that make up double-stranded DNA, and then the decoding of the mRNA into a specific sequence of amino acids in a protein structure.

Genetic Codon Chart©

Your students will build a seamless connection between the triplet codon in mRNA and the chemical property of the amino acid it encodes, since this chart features the same color scheme as 3DMD's Amino Acid Side Chain Chart©©.

Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit© Function of the C-Peptide Activity

A group activity using 3”x5” index cards that allows your students to explore the function of the C-peptide within the insulin gene, learn how the concentration of molecules impacts their ability to interact, and consider some of the issues involved in drug design.

Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit© Determining a Consensus Sequence

A consensus sequence is determined by aligning many nucleotide (or protein) sequences that share a common function, then determining the most commonly expressed nucleotide (or amino acid) at each position. Often conserved sequences reflect a common function or binding domain. In this exercise you will identify important nucleotides in the region for the initiation of translation.

Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit© Jmols and Tutorials

Open a computer Jmol image to explore a generic amino acid, or all amino acids found in proteins.

Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit© Animations and Videos

View an animation showing the molecular mechanism whereby insulin triggers the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream.

Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit© Additional Online Resources

A list of some excellent websites to help you make the most of the Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit's© lessons and activities.

Molecule of the Month on Insulin

The Molecule of the Month by scientist, author and artist Dr. David Goodsell includes an introduction to the structure and function of the chosen molecule and a discussion of its relevance to human health and welfare. Molecule of the Month articles are frequently referred to by teachers, students and researchers.

Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit© Next Generation Science Standards

Connections to: A Framework for K-12 Science Education Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas

Product Details


Grade Level

High School

Students per Group



Choking Hazard
Science Education Product

List Price

6-Group Set
    $299 (INSFK-06)
3-Group Set
    $167 (INSFK-03)
1-Group Set
    $65 (INSFK-01)


Disinfecting Kits

Teacher Tip

To extend the life of your bioinformatics maps, remove the highlighter marks immediately following each use with a damp cloth or tissue.

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