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Biologists visualize protein interaction that may initiate viral infection

8 nanometers, resolution high enough to see groups of atoms. An angstrom is one ten-billionth of a meter, or roughly a millionth as wide as a human hair.

Zhang discovered that the CRD attaches to a structure on the virus surface that contains two carbohydrates a distance of 18 angstroms apart. This feature apparently is essential for the binding to take place, she said.

"Why doesn't the binding happen at other sugar-binding sites?" she asked. "The answer is that we need two carbohydrate sites that are 18 angstroms apart. There are no other sites that are 18 angstroms apart."

Each virus particle contains 60 of the features, each having two carbohydrates 18 angstroms apart, representing 60 potential binding sites for the CRD.


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Source:Purdue University


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