Getting poster data...
Paul Brennan (School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4SZ, United Kingdom, )Signaling pathways are illustrated in journals, textbooks and on the internet. They are valuable tools for identifying understanding, communicating ideas and for teaching. However, the visualisations can also lead to misunderstandings and misrepresentations. Examples of weaknesses of published diagrams include the use of protein ‘blobs’ with no meaning, inconsistent labelling of proteins and complexes, and the use of arrows to represent different types of molecular events.I propose that consideration of key concepts of protein complex visualisation can lead to the generation of better signaling pathways containing additional and useful biological information. Recommendations for improving diagrams: (1) use molecule size; (2) label every protein; (3) reflect movement in separate sections; (4) reflect cellular location; (5) if direct physical interactions are known, show them as such; (6) use dotted arrows to indicate unknown or multiple steps; (7) be careful about colour. An illustration of the use of these principles has been applied to the signaling pathway from the cytokine TNF to the transcription factor, NFkB.