Many viruses previously have been shown to have pressurized genomes inside their viral protein shell, termed the capsid. This pressure results from the tight confinement of negatively charged viral nucleic acids inside the capsid. However, the relevance of capsid pressure to viral infection has not been demonstrated. In this work, we show that the internal DNA pressure of tens of atmospheres inside a herpesvirus capsid powers ejection of the viral genome into a host cell nucleus. To our knowledge, this provides the first demonstration of a pressure-dependent mechanism of viral genome penetration into a host nucleus, leading to infection of eukaryotic cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)