Friday, November 14, 2008

The Formula - Part II

Well, we finally got to see the rest of The Formula in Heroes! Unfortunately, it doesn't answer much.

We get one new molecule on the bottom right - it's adrenaline, which makes sense in the context of Mohinder's earlier discovery. The rest of Maitotoxin is there... sort of. The quality of this image is much better, so it's easy to see where the show has taken some "artistic license" with the molecule (highlighted in blue).

Some of these changes are minor, such as adding a few extra OH groups, or leaving a group or two out, but others are PURE CHEMICAL INSANITY, including whatever the hell they replaced the sulfonate groups with.

As a bonus, though, one of the monitors that half of the formula was displayed on also had a the primary structure of a protein shown.

The top line reads "AlaPheGlyPheMetThrArgValAlaLeuGlnAlaGluLysLeuAspHisProGly" and the second is "AsnLysValHisIleThrLeuSerThrHis."

According to BLAST, both sequence fragments correspond to the gene encoding pterin-4 alpha-carbinolamine dehydratase, an enzyme that people with the genetic condition phenylketoneuria lack.

So, a gene corresponding to a well-known genetic disorder, two steps of Tamiflu synthesis, a colossally large marine toxin (almost correctly drawn), and some mystery equations.

Well, I'm stumped. Your guess is as good as mine.


Anonymous said...

Hello Jacob

think it's ok to nebulize Calcium Disodium EDTA & inhale? why go to the trouble of expensive IVs if so?

Anonymous said...

They just grabbed images from the wikipedia page for Organic Chemistry.

Jacob said...

Anonymous #1 - I'm not a doctor, so I really can't say.

Anonymous #2 - Nice observation! Shame they don't have some more synthesis-savvy science consultants...