Science magazine has published the results of its annual visualization challenge, and thanks to the efforts of Ivan Konstantinov and his collegues, HIV has stepped into the spotlight. The team examined over 100 scholarly articles, compiling sufficient data to compose an image of ideal detail. Winning first place in the illustration category, “Human Immunodeficiency Virus 3D” depicts HIV infection with stunning simplicity, in a two-color scheme. By coloring all host proteins grey and viral molecules orange, the team at the Visual Science Company (Moscow) clearly depicted the envelopment of the virus in the host membrane and integration of viral messages. The judges were also impressed by the emotional impact of the exposed core—the “gaping mouth” cut into the host cell “looks like it’s ready to eat you the way AIDS is eating away at society.”
Runners up in the illustration category included a gene function association network, the proposed structure of a yeast mitotic spindle, and notably, an image of the enterobacteria phage T4. The phage is depicted attacking E. coli, and was imagined by chemical engineer Jonathan Heras who admitted that when he found a phage diagram in a textbook, he found it frankly unbelievable.