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Issue 32, 2016
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Identification of a major intermediate along the self-assembly pathway of an icosahedral viral capsid by using an analytical model of a spherical patch

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Abstract

Viruses are astonishing edifices in which hundreds of molecular building blocks fit into the final structure with pinpoint accuracy. We established a robust kinetic model accounting for the in vitro self-assembly of a capsid shell derived from an icosahedral plant virus by using time-resolved small-angle X-ray scattering (TR-SAXS) data at high spatiotemporal resolution. By implementing an analytical model of a spherical patch into a global fitting algorithm, we managed to identify a major intermediate species along the self-assembly pathway. With a series of data collected at different protein concentrations, we showed that free dimers self-assembled into a capsid through an intermediate resembling a half-capsid. The typical lifetime of the intermediate was a few seconds and yet the presence of so large an oligomer was not reported before. The progress in instrumental detection along with the development of powerful algorithms for data processing contribute to shedding light on nonequilibrium processes in highly complex systems such as viruses.

Graphical abstract: Identification of a major intermediate along the self-assembly pathway of an icosahedral viral capsid by using an analytical model of a spherical patch

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
06 May 2016
Accepted
14 Jul 2016
First published
22 Jul 2016

Soft Matter, 2016,12, 6728-6736
Article type
Paper

Identification of a major intermediate along the self-assembly pathway of an icosahedral viral capsid by using an analytical model of a spherical patch

D. Law-Hine, M. Zeghal, S. Bressanelli, D. Constantin and G. Tresset, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 6728
DOI: 10.1039/C6SM01060A

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