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Nat Struct Biol. 2003 Feb;10(2):131-5.

Coat protein fold and maturation transition of bacteriophage P22 seen at subnanometer resolutions.

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National Center for Macromolecular Imaging, Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Bacteriophage P22 is a prototypical biological machine used for studying protein complex assembly and capsid maturation. Using cryo-EM, we solved the structures of P22 before and after the capsid maturation at 8.5 A and 9.5 A resolutions, respectively. These structures allowed visualization of alpha-helices and beta-sheets from which the capsid protein fold is derived. The capsid fold is similar to that of the coat protein of HK97 bacteriophage. The cryo-EM shows that a large conformational change of the P22 capsid during maturation transition involves not only the domain movement of individual subunits, but also refolding of the capsid protein.

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