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Scientists discover DNA knot keeps viral genes tightly corked inside shell
Date:6/17/2008

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During assembly of the virus, a molecular motor in the neck winds the DNA strand into a tight coil within the head. "It's under tremendous pressure -- about 20 times that of champagne in a bottle," said Tang, the lead author of the paper.

The knot-like shape of the toroid, along with interlocking bumps in the protein envelope, may keep the DNA wedged into the capsid until the virus docks onto the host cell.

"It's poised in this tube waiting to go through the bacterial wall," Baker said. "All of the components work together to create an infection machine."


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Contact: Susan Brown
mailro:sdbrown@ucsd.edu
858-246-0161
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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