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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Mar 17;106(11):4225-30. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0812071106. Epub 2009 Feb 25.

Atomic structure reveals the unique capsid organization of a dsRNA virus.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA.


For most dsRNA viruses, the genome-enclosing capsid comprises 120 copies of a single capsid protein (CP) organized into 60 icosahedrally equivalent dimers, generally identified as 2 nonsymmetricallyinteracting CP molecules with extensive lateral contacts. The crystal structure of a partitivirus, Penicillium stoloniferum virus F (PsV-F), reveals a different organization, in which the CP dimer is related by almost-perfect local 2-fold symmetry, forms prominent surface arches, and includes extensive structure swapping between the 2 subunits. An electron cryomicroscopy map of PsV-F shows that the disordered N terminus of each CP molecule interacts with the dsRNA genome and probably participates in its packaging or transcription. Intact PsV-F particles mediate semiconservative transcription, and transcripts are likely to exit through negatively charged channels at the icosahedral 5-fold axes. Other findings suggest that the PsV-F capsid is assembled from dimers of CP dimers, with an arrangement similar to flavivirus E glycoproteins.

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