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Virus grows tube to insert DNA during infection then sheds it
Date:12/15/2013

aid.

The virus's outer shell, or capsid, is made of four proteins, labeled H, J, F and G. The structures of all but the H protein had been determined previously. The new findings show that the H protein assembles into a tube-shaped structure. The E. coli cells have a double membrane, and the researchers discovered that the two ends of the virus's H-protein tube attach to the host cell's inner and outer membranes.

Images created with a technique called cryoelectron tomography show this attachment. The H-protein tube was shown to consist of 10 "alpha-helical" molecules coiled around each other. Findings also showed that the inside of the tube contains a lining of amino acids that could be ideal for the transfer of DNA into the host.

"This may be a general property found in viral-DNA conduits and could be critical for efficient genome translocation into the host," Rossmann said.

Like many other viruses, the shape of the phiX174 capsid has icosahedral symmetry, a roughly spherical shape containing 20 triangular faces.


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Contact: Emil Venere
venere@purdue.edu
765-494-4709
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert  

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