Minimal Design Principles for Icosahedral Virus Capsids
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The underlying design principles behind the structures of the outer protein shells of viruses have been revealed.
The genetic material of viruses is encapsulated in a protein shell that is often approximately a 20-sided polygon (icosahedron) in shape. This shape imparts many advantages, including high stability and high storage capacity.
Now, four researchers from the University of La Laguna in Spain and a collaborator have determined the minimal design principles of these protein shells.
The team identified subunits as the building blocks of the shells. They then determined the simplest cost functions for generating target structures.
The researchers found that these principles could be used to generate any protein-shell structure of real viruses, whereas more-complex design schemes were required to produce structures that haven’t been observed in nature.
- ACS Nano 15, 14873−14884 (2021). doi: 10.1021/acsnano.1c04952
|University of La Laguna (ULL), Spain||0.75|
|University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (UK)||0.25|