This particular project started when I was offered a challenge by NeCEN, the Netherlands Centre for Electron Nanoscopy. At NeCEN they create images of the molecular machines that drive microbial life. The challenge? To create a 3D animation that incorporates this scientific data and is accessible to the general public. In collaboration with Alise Muok from the Briegel Lab from the Institute Biology in Leiden, we are now able to show you a bacterium that Antoni van Leeuwenhoek already saw 300 years ago, in a lot more detail. This work is part of the exhibition "Onvoorstelbaar" in the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave in Leiden. "Onvoorstelbaar" is an exhibition on the father of microscopy, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, and I really recommend checking it out!
The Chemoreceptor array
The chemoreceptor array is the microbial nose that Treponema denticola uses for infection. The chemoreceptor array is one of the best-understood structures within biology. The organisation of the molecules is the chemoreceptor array is based on cutting edge research: Dr. Alise Muok from the Briegel lab recently discovered that the enzymes that are controlled by the receptors are not organised in circles but in rows!
Real microscopy data
Did you know that the models of the flagellar motor and the chemoreceptor array are real scientific data? The models have been acquired through the microscopy technique "cryo-electron tomography".
The model of the flagellar motor was originally derived from a different spirochete called Borellia burgdorferi (kudryshev et.al. 2009).