Browsing by Author "Jäälinoja, Harri"

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  • Jäälinoja, Harri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Symmetry is a key principle in viral structures, especially the protein capsid shells. However, symmetry mismatches are very common, and often correlate with dynamic functionality of biological significance. The three-dimensional structures of two isometric viruses, bacteriophage phi8 and the archaeal virus SH1 were reconstructed using electron cryo-microscopy. Two image reconstruction methods were used: the classical icosahedral method yielded high resolution models for the symmetrical parts of the structures, and a novel asymmetric in-situ reconstruction method allowed us to resolve the symmetry mismatches at the vertices of the viruses. Evidence was found that the hexameric packaging enzyme at the vertices of phi8 does not rotate relative to the capsid. The large two-fold symmetric spikes of SH1 were found not to be responsible for infectivity. Both virus structures provided insight into the evolution of viruses. Comparison of the phi8 polymerase complex capsid with those of phi6 and other dsRNA viruses suggests that the quaternary structure in dsRNA bacteriophages differs from other dsRNA viruses. SH1 is unusual because there are two major types of capsomers building up the capsid, both of which seem to be composed mainly of single beta-barrels perpendicular to the capsid surface. This indicates that the beta-barrel may be ancestral to the double beta-barrel fold.