Ubiquitin Proteasome System (UPS) – Hybrigenics Pharma

Jan 1, 2020 | Case Studies


CLIENT: HYBRIGENICS PHARMA is a biopharmaceutical company. Hybrigenics research and develop new therapies against proliferative diseases, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

SERVICE: From 3DforScience, we produced a 3D scientific animation explaining the importance of the homeostasis in the human body and how the protein regulatory system degrades those proteins that are damaged, non-functional or misfolded, to keep homeostasis. Ubiquitin process leads to de degradation of these proteins by the Ubiquitin-Proteasome System (UPS). Deregulation of the UPS is implicated in many diseases, such as cancers or neurodegenerative disorders. Hybrigenics has pioneered the research on inhibitors of UPS7 and UPS8.


“Communication has been very pleasant and easy, either by phone, email or videoconference. The team was very kind and happy to explain the process of video creation to a non-specialist like me. They also make the best efforts to stick to short deadlines.”

Hybrigenics Pharma
Project manager – Consultant


Ubiquitin Proteasome System

The Ubiquitin Proteasome System (UPS) is a complex biological process that keeps cell homeostasis. Many proteins intervein in this ubiquitin proteasome degradation process. A clear understanding of UPS from part of 3DforScience team is mandatory for the future development of the animation process. We conceptualized the client´s briefing. Consequently, we elaborate a script that will narrate what will be animated in the future steps.

First of all, we determined which proteins will be intervening in the ubiquitin proteasome process. To acquired accurate 3D models of these proteins, we researched and looked for them in the Protein Data Bank PDB (https://www.rcsb.org/). Therefore, every single protein model structure has scientific coherence. We process each raw 3D model from the PDB, giving it shape, texture and a unique aesthetic appearance.

We texturize three different 3D proteins structures so Hybrigenics could choose which 3D model of the protein will be used in the final video.

ubiquitin proteasome pharma

The moodboard is used for inspiration by designers, is a way that quickly and effectively conveys visual ideas. This enables our client to see, which design direction we will follow.

ubiquitin Hybrigenics

Moodboard used for the development of the project where is exposed different scenes representing first the proteasome a tumor cell and misfolded protein.

After the texturization, we establish a protein legend, which is a visual description of how the different elements (proteins in this case) are going to look like in terms of color, size and shape. This gives the client an overall idea of how the proteins will look together in the final animation.

Ubiquitin hybrigenics pharma

Once the storyboard is approved, the visualization process starts. During this step we developt all the esthetic elements; lights, texturize, etc. Although, this visualization will give a reference of how every scene throughout the video will look like

After all the still images of the visualization process are approved, we start the animation process. Here is where we establish the rhythm of the animation, scene length, transitions, illumination, camera movements, etc.

Ubiquitin damaged protein

neurone ubiquitin

One of the key scenes was the abnormal cell division. Deregulation of UPS produces in the cells an abnormal cell proliferation, which is one of the hallmarks of cancer. Then…How to put this into visuals?

We decided to develop a scene where the cell division leads into the production of a cancer cell, represented with a red range of colors, being the darkest the one that has accumulated more mutations, finally leading into a malignified cell.

However, how it can be an abnormal cell division instead of a normal cell division. Therefore, some elements were missing in this scene. We needed a normal cell division if we wanted to impact with the generation of the tumor cell.

ubiquitin cell proliferation

In the end, in addition to the abnormal cell division, we generate some cells that were replicating slower and have a more yellow color just to make more clear the abnormal cell proliferation. We generated a hierarchy of colors from yellow to red, representing the accumulation of cell mutations.

“The role of the Ubiquitin-Proteasome System, the cellular machinery in charge of the quality control of proteins that regulates proteins half-life and degradation.
This video illustrates the innovative strategy of Hybrigenics Pharma’s research on Ubiquitin Specific Proteases consisting in the inhibition of the recycling of deleterious proteins instead of targeting them directly.” – Source.


3DforScience is a scientific communication company specialized in digital content for the pharma and biotech industries. Our passionate creative team works alongside an in-house scientific team to provide cutting-edge medical animations, scientific illustrations, virtual reality, etc.

Our extensive experience within the field ensures all the content we produce is scientifically accurate, innovative, engaging, and pitched at the right level for the target audience. Would you like to bring your scientific messaging to life? Contact us. We would love to help you create something unique.


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