Biophysics of viral infectivity: matching genome length with capsid size.

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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.

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  • Biological Sciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-356
JournalQuarterly Reviews of Biophysics
Volume40
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes