1966, Unknown Dimensions

Geis illustrates the structure of lysozyme, which was first revealed by X-ray crystallography in 1965 (Blake et al., 1965). The structure of lysozyme was the first to be determined via this method. Geis carefully highlights the interaction between lysozyme and the substrate. This particular illustration appeared on the cover of Scientific American Volume 215, Issue 5 (Phillips, 1966).

Used with permission from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute ( All rights reserved.

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Painting Citation

Phillips, D. (1966). The Three-Dimensional Structure of an Enzyme Molecule. Sci. Am. 215, 78-90. DOI:10.1038/scientificamerican1166-78

Related PDB Entry: 1LYZ

Experimental Structure Citation

Blake, C. C. F., Koenig, D. F., Mair, G. A., North, A. C. T., Phillips, D. C., & Sarma, V. R. (1965). Structure of hen egg-white lysozyme: a three-dimensional Fourier synthesis at 2 Å resolution. Nature, 206, 757-761.

About Lysozyme

Molecule of the Month: Lysozyme

Lysozyme is a small enzyme that cuts sugar chains in bacterial cell walls, which causes bacteria to burst. It is used in our bodies for defense against infection and can be found naturally in egg whites, human tears and mucus (places rich in potential for bacterial growth). Lysozyme in these places allow humans to resist infection to exposed surfaces.

This structure (in Chimera representation, 148L) includes the enzyme with a short piece of the substrate bound in the active site. The substrate is typically a portion of a carbohydrate chain from the bacterial cell wall, enabling lysozyme to cut the sugar.

Text References

Goodsell, D. (2000). Molecule of the Month: Lysozyme. DOI: 10.2210/rcsb_pdb/mom_2000_9