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Insulin Bioinformatics Activity

Insulin Bioinformatics Activity Model Classroom Set

Lending Library Update

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSOE Model Lending Library has suspended operations. Before reopening, we need to identify safe ways of disinfecting library materials between uses. We hope to have decisions made by mid-July about which materials will be available for loan in the fall.


Teaching Points

This kit allows students to review the relationship between DNA sequence, RNA sequence, and protein sequence as they explore the insulin gene in a guided-inquiry exercise. In this exercise, students can:

  • Explore the arrangement of the pre-signal (for docking the ribosome onto the endoplasmic reticulum), the B chain, the C peptide (which is later removed) and A chain. Students can also identify the cysteine sidechains that form the disulfide bonds that stabilize the final, mature structure.
  • Because the ultimate annotation of a nucleotide sequence is a physical model of the protein it encodes, students use a protein folding map and Mini-Toobers to build a three-dimensional model of insulin, demonstrating disulfide bonds, a salt bridge, internal hydrophobic residues, as well as a number of sidechains that, when mutated, lead to proteins that don't function properly.

Models in this Collection

  • 6 insulin models (PDB: 2hiu)
    • α-carbon backbone
    • Cysteine sidechains involved in disulfide bonds displayed in ball and stick
      • A chain: cys6, cys7, cys11, cys20
      • B chain: cys7, cys19
  • 6 Insulin Posters
  • 6 Student Insulin mRNA Maps
  • 1 Teacher Insulin mRNA Map
  • 6 Insulin Mini-Toober Folding Maps
  • 6 Insulin Mini-Toober Folding Kits


Requesting this Model

Loan Time Frame: 3 weeks


  • Use the calendar below to select a three week loan. Available times are shown in green. Select a date one week prior to the date you want the model to arrive. After selecting your time period, select checkout and complete the booking details.
  • This loan includes both delivery and return shipping time. Please make sure to plan time (approximately one week) for us to deliver the model to you. You can expect the model to arrive approximately one week following the first day of the requested loan period.


  • Use the calendar below to select a three week loan. Available times are shown in green. Select the date you want to pick up the model. After selecting your time period, select checkout and complete the booking details.

Requesting Other Models

You may schedule one copy of a model for three weeks. Due to limited resources, we are unable to send multiple copies or additional materials.

If you would like to request a loan of a different model for the same time frame you may add this to your cart. Up to three different types of models may be checked out at one time. You will need to fill out a separate request for model loans with a different time frame.


Please contact us at with any questions about the lending process or the availability of models.

Contact Margaret Franzen at or (414) 277-2824 with questions about the models, teaching resources or educational content.



Model Documentation and Instructions

Teaching Points and Inventory
Note to Educators
Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit Student Handout
Insulin mRNA to Protein Kit Teacher Key and Teacher Notes
mRNA Coding/Decoding Worksheet Student Handout
mRNA Coding/Decoding Worksheet Teacher Key
The Genetic Codon Chart
Function of the C-Peptide Activity
Determining a Consensus Sequence Activity
Determining a Consensus Sequence Activity Key
Discussion Topics

Instructional materials for classroom use are available for printing through the 3D Molecular Designs Website.

General Model Information

  • Backbone of A chain colored purple
  • Backbone of B chain colored orange
  • Student and Teacher Insulin mRNA maps show processed insulin mRNA and protein sequences in each of the three forward reading frames

Returning Models

Models must be returned on or before the due date.

Borrowers are responsible for return shipping costs. We recommend using FedEx or UPS with "two-day ground" transportation. Please make sure to get a tracking number for the shipment.

Please take care when returning models. Any damage incurred in return shipping due to improper packing will be charged to the borrower.

Ship models to:
Milwaukee School of Engineering
1000 N. Market Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3113
   Available    Your Booking    Unavailable/Padding