Model of lysozyme

The first model which demonstrates the structure of an enzyme, providing an explanation for how enzymes speed up a chemical reaction in terms of its physical structures. First mapped by David Chilton Phillips & Louise Johnson’s research team in 1965 by x-ray diffraction methods.

  • Lysozyme model
    Credit: Paul Wilkinson
  • Date

    1960s
  • Place made

    Basement Laboratory of the Royal Institution, Ri Model Workshop

  • People

  • Materials

    Metal, enamel, glass, wood

  • Measurements

    H: 625mm, W: 403mm, D: 356mm

  • Key words

    Enzyme, model, lysozyme, William Lawrence Bragg

Description

This is a model of lysozyme, the second protein but first enzyme structure to be solved by x-ray diffraction.

Lysozyme is an enzyme found in the tears and nasal mucus of humans and animals, and it can also be found in the whites of eggs. Discovered in 1921 by Sir Alexander Fleming, one of lysozyme’s functions is to protect the cornea of the eye from infection.

While holding the position of Director of the Davy Faraday Research Laboratory at the Royal Institution, William Lawrence Bragg continued to build up and supervise research teams of young scientists.  It was his third team of research students, led by David Phillips and Louise Johnson, who successfully tackled the structures of complex organic crystals, finally mapping the structure of Lysozyme in the early 1960s.

More images

  • Lysozyme model

    Lysozyme model - full view

    Credit: Paul Wilkinson

  • Lysozyme model

    Lysozyme model - detail

    Credit: Paul Wilkinson

  • Lysozyme model

    Lysozyme model - detail

    Credit: Paul Wilkinson

This object is currently on display in the Lower Ground Floor of the Royal Institution in the Faraday Museum.

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