This figure shows the capsid, or outer shell, of a virus called bacteriophage T4. Proteins called gp23 are represented in blue and gp24 are represented in magenta. Both of these proteins are critical for the assembly of the T4 capsid. Researchers have found that the T4 virus and another virus called HK97 both have similar "protein folds" in their outer shells. The findings are providing further evidence that the protein envelope protecting DNA in viruses evolved billions of years ago from a common ancestor and uses the same basic protein fold to construct the outer shell. The researchers used X-ray crystallography to view the gp24 protein at a resolution of 2.9 angstroms and electron microscopy to view the virus capsid at 22-angstrom resolution. An angstrom is one ten-billionth of a meter, or roughly one-millionth as wide as a human hair. (Image courtesy of Purdue University Department of Biological Sciences)
New findings in research led by Purdue University biologists provide further evidence that the protein envelope protecting DNA in viruses evolved billions of years ago from a common ancestor and uses the same basic protein "fold" to construct the critical outer shell.
The most recent findings, which appear in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that the T4 virus has a similar protein fold in its outer shell, or capsid, as another virus called HK97.
The protein fold of the viral envelope is crucial for the assembly of the capsid, which protects DNA vital to a virus’ ability to infect host organisms and reproduce. The T4 and HK97 viruses are called bacteriophages because they infect bacteria.
Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
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