Biophysics of viral infectivity: Matching genome length with capsid size

Elmar Nurmemmedov, Martin Castelnovo, Carlos Enrique Catalano, Alex Evilevitch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

In this review, we discuss recent advances in biophysical virology, presenting experimental and theoretical studies on the physical properties of viruses. We focus on the double-stranded (ds) DNA bacteriophages as model systems for all of the dsDNA viruses both prokaryotic and eukaryotic. Recent studies demonstrate that the DNA packaged into a viral capsid is highly pressurized, which provides a force for the first step of passive injection of viral DNA into a bacterial cell. Moreover, specific studies on capsid strength show a strong correlation between genome length, and capsid size and robustness. The implications of these newly appreciated physical properties of a viral particle with respect to the infection process are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-356
Number of pages30
JournalQuarterly Reviews of Biophysics
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics

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