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Virology. 1999 Dec 5;265(1):35-45.

Recombinant hepatitis E capsid protein self-assembles into a dual-domain T = 1 particle presenting native virus epitopes.

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Department of Biosciences at Novum, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, 14157, Sweden.


The three-dimensional structure of a self-assembled, recombinant hepatitis E virus particle has been solved to 22-A resolution by cryo-electron microscopy and three-dimensional image reconstruction. The single subunit of 50 kDa is derived from a truncated version of the open reading frame-2 gene of the virus expressed in a baculovirus system. This is the first structure of a T = 1 particle with protruding dimers at the icosahedral two-fold axes solved by cryo-electron microscopy. The protein shell of these hollow particles extends from a radius of 50 A outward to a radius of 135 A. In the reconstruction, the capsid is dominated by dimers that define the 30 morphological units. The outer domain of the homodimer forms a protrusion, which corresponds to the spike-like density seen in the cryo-electron micrograph. This particle retains native virus epitopes, suggesting its potential value as a vaccine.

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