By Eddie Grant,2014-06-17 22:00
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1. DESCRIPTION: Students will use computer visualization and online resources to guide them in

    constructing physical models of proteins involved in swine flu (H1N1), with a focus on two proteins used in

    the naming of the flu viruses: Hemagglutinin (H) and Neuraminidase (N).



    a. Pre-build models will be impounded one hour before the event begins.

    b. Students may bring up to ten double-sided, 8.5”x11” pages of materials to the on-site competition. Internet access will not be permitted during the competitions.

    c. Students will need to bring a writing instrument.

    d. Supervisors will provide all materials for on-site model construction.

    e. Construction details are found at:

3. THE COMPETITION: This event has three parts: (1) a pre-build model (40% of total score), (2) an on-site

    build model (30% of total score) and (3) an on-site exam (30% of total score).

    a. Part I: The Pre-Build Model. Students will use a computer visualization program (Jmol) to design and

    construct a model of a specific protein based on atomic coordinate data. For 2010, students will construct

    a model of a specified portion of the hemagglutinin protein, based on the coordinate data found in the

    5HMG.pdb file, which can be downloaded for free from the RCSB Protein Data Bank (,

    and is described in the April 2006 RCSB Molecule of the Month ( by David S. Goodsell. The pre-build models should represent amino acids 1-160 of chain B of the PDB file 5HMG. Note that the same pre-build model

    should be brought to regional, state and national competitions, as the competition level increases, the

    scoring rubrics for the pre-build model will reflect higher expectations for model accuracy, detail and


    b. The pre-build model in its final form must be based on the alpha carbon backbone display of the model

    and must use a scale of 2 cm per amino acid. Students may use Mini-Toobers?1 to model their protein, or 2other comparable material. Students will represent other important parts of the protein, such as amino

    acid sidechains, DNA or associated molecules, where applicable, with materials of their choosing. The

    additions to the model should focus on illustrating the significance of the structure to the function of the

    protein. A significant portion of the score will be derived from the creative additions to the model.

    Students must provide a 3”x5” note card explaining the creative additions to their model and what they

    represent. Students must deliver their pre-build model and 3”x5” card to judges at the competition site for

    impounding. The models will be impounded prior to the start of the on-site competition and will be

    available after scoring for public viewing. Models will be available for return to the students after the


    c. Part II: The On-Site Model. During the on-site competition at Regional Competitions, students will

    design and build a physical model of a selected region of hemagglutinin (1HTM.pdb). During the on-site

    competition at the State and National Competitions, students will design and build a physical model of a

    selected region of the neuraminidase (2HU4.pdb), which is described in the May 2009 RCSB Molecule of

    the Month written by David S. Goodsell. (

    d. Students will utilize a computer provided with the Jmol application at the competition. Students must

    utilize only one of the identical computers provided at the competition with the above-mentioned files on

    it to guide their model construction. All construction materials for the model (Mini-Toobers?

    1, foam

    amino acid sidechains, crosslinkers and plastic red and blue end caps) will be provided. Any model not

    handed to the judges by the end of the competition time (50 minutes) will not be accepted for scoring.

    e. Part III: The On-Site Written Exam. During the 50-minute competition, students will answer a

    multiple choice/short answer written exam with questions about the relationship between protein structure

    and function, with an emphasis on swine flu and the role of hemagglutinin and neuraminidase. During the

    on-site competition, students may use only the materials brought with them (the 10 pages) to answer the

4. SCORING: At the Competitions, Part I will be based on the pre-build protein model (40%), Part II on the

    on-site build (30%) and Part III on the written exam (30%). questions. Any exams not handed to the judges by the end of the competition time will not be accepted for

    scoring. Illegible answers will not receive credit. a. The pre-build protein model (Part I) will be scored based on the accuracy and scale of the alpha-helix and

    beta-sheet secondary structures, as well as other elaborations and enhancements to the protein backbone

    such as sidechains, DNA or associated molecules. The focus of the model should be on creatively telling

    the story of the molecule’s significance, structure and function. Creative additions that do not support the

    molecular story will not receive full credit.

    b. The on-site build protein model (Part II) will be scored based on accuracy of folding the Mini-Toober?

    model and positioning specific amino acid sidechains and/or accessory molecules.

    c. The exam (Part III) will be scored for accuracy. Ties will be broken using specific questions from the

    written exam selected and labeled by the event supervisor before the start of the competition.


    ( with an overview of the event (PowerPoint file) and

    downloadable resources, and the RCSB PDB Homepage ( and website for the Science Olympiad (

Please contact your Science Olympiad State Director to find out if this event will be offered in your state in


    This event is currently being sponsored by a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant and sponsorship by Life (1)Technologies?. Therefore, the Mini-Toobers? will be provided to all participating states at no cost.

    State Directors: please contact Shannon Colton ( to arrange for the Protein Modeling Challenge to be offered in your state. 1ndMini-Toobers? are a product of 3D Molecular Designs, 2223 North 72 Street, Wauwatosa, WI 53213, (414)

    774-6562, Fax: (414) 774-3435, 2Students may use Mini-Toobers or other comparable materials (for example: wire, pipe cleaners, chenille stems,

    Kwik Twists (, etc.

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