Tumour necrosis factor-alpha

Tumour necrosis factor-alpha

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Credit: DR MARK J. WINTER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), computer model. Atoms are represented as spheres and are colour-coded: carbon (grey), hydrogen (white), oxygen (red) and nitrogen (blue). Disulphide bridges are yellow. This protein generally exists as a trimer (a molecule consisting of 3 identical smaller molecules, seen here). It is released by white blood cells, mainly macrophages, during inflammatory immune responses, and acts as a signalling molecule. Its release is triggered by injury or bacterial endotoxins. One of its actions is to kill tumour cells, hence its name. TNF-alpha is also involved in a number of inflammatory illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and Crohn's disease.

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Keywords: artwork, ball and stick, ball-and-stick, biochemistry, cachectin, cachexin, chemical, chemistry, computer artwork, computer model, crohn's disease, cytokine, defense, disulphide bridges, host defence, illustration, immune response, immune system, medical, medicine, molecular, molecule, pro inflammatory, protein, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, structural, structure, tnf, trimer, tumor, tumour necrosis factor-alpha

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