DR MARK J. WINTER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR MARK J. WINTER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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.
Model release not required. Property release not required.