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The Ebola Virus

2011 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge
Informational Posters & Graphics - Honorable Mention

This illustration by Ivan Konstantinov and colleagues at the Russia-based group Visual Science is based on existing scientific information to depict the 3D structure of the Ebola virus, responsible for fatal outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever throughout much of Africa.

This virus, only 1400 nanometers in length, is no simple pathogen. His group previously patched together a similar 3D model of HIV. But Ebola is nearly 10 times larger, containing roughly 3 million lipids and protein molecules.

The poster provides a good look at how Ebola turns dangerous. Proteins coded by the virus’s own genome are shown here in maroon. They’re the pathogen’s Velcro, clinging to the surface of target cells and giving the virus access to their interior.

Anyone perusing this poster can clearly understand that the Ebola virion is a very complex supramolecular structure, with various polypeptides, lipids, and RNA genome included. »