Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Mol Biol. 2010 Sep 3;401(5):985-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2010.06.042. Epub 2010 Jun 26.

Disulfide bond stabilization of the hexameric capsomer of human immunodeficiency virus.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 capsid is modeled as a fullerene cone that is composed of approximately 250 hexamers and 12 pentamers of the viral CA protein. Structures of CA hexamers have been difficult to obtain because the hexamer-stabilizing interactions are inherently weak, and CA tends to spontaneously assemble into capsid-like particles. Here, we describe a two-step biochemical strategy to obtain soluble CA hexamers for crystallization. First, the hexamer was stabilized by engineering disulfide cross-links (either A14C/E45C or A42C/T54C) between the N-terminal domains of adjacent subunits. Second, the cross-linked hexamers were prevented from polymerizing further into hyperstable capsid-like structures by mutations (W184A and M185A) that interfered with dimeric association between the C-terminal domains that link adjacent hexamers. The structures of two different cross-linked CA hexamers were nearly identical, and we combined the non-mutated portions of the structures to generate an atomic resolution model for the native hexamer. This hybrid approach for structure determination should be applicable to other viral capsomers and protein-protein complexes in general.

Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk