2021 AMI Online Salon

Electron Transport Chain

Project Details

  • Entrant Name:  Jim Perkins
  • Client: Elsevier, Inc.
  • Copyright: Elsevier, Inc., 2021
  • Medium/software used: Adobe Illustrator, UCSF Chimera
  • Final presentation format: Printed textbook
  • Primary Audience: Medical students, residents, physicians

Project Description

For a chapter on mitochondrial disorders, this demonstrates the following points about electron transport and production of ATP: 1) glycolysis, the TCA cycle, and oxidation of fatty acids produce NADH and FADH2; 2) breakdown of NADH/FADH2 by protein complexes liberate electrons; 3) complexes I, III, and IV establish a proton gradient that drives ATP synthase; and 4) distinction between processes occurring on the inner membrane, in the mitochondrial matrix, and intermembrane space. Although the author did not request accurate models of the proteins, I believe this is an important trend in medical illustration, to show the “anatomy” of molecules so that students recognize their shapes as easily as they recognize the shape of a liver or kidney. Molecular structures were obtained from the RCSB Protein Databank and the University of Michigan Orientation of Proteins in Membranes database. Another challenge was trying to fit so much information into the space of a standard 2-column figure.