Computer-generated pictures of proteins

Arthur M. Lesk, Karl D. Hardman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


This chapter describes the applications of a computer program that draws stereoscopic pictures of biological macromolecules. The program makes it easy to explore various ways of depicting a structure, including the free mixing in a single drawing of different styles of representation of different portions of a molecule, together with labels and comments. The initial motives for applying computer graphics are the unwieldliness and instability of physical models and their readiness to denature, together with the fact that the space and material requirements increase as more structures appear. To gain the ability to produce stereoscopic diagrams and to provide the flexibility essential to mix different representations in one picture, it has been compiled into one coherent computer program the many ways of depicting biological macromolecules that have proved their utility. The visual display of structures is a principal tool of computational molecular biology. The chapter discusses the basic operation of the program. It includes line drawings, picture generation and color-raster output.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-390
Number of pages10
JournalMethods in enzymology
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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