Energetics of the DNA-Filled Head

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


Mechanical changes within cells and viruses have been shown to be of great importance for various mechano-signaling processes. In phage and herpesviruses, strong confinement of double-stranded DNA inside the capsid generates tens of atmospheres of pressure. This confinement leads to electrostatic sliding friction between neighboring DNA strands. This affects the mobility of the encapsidated genome which directly impacts the dynamics of viral DNA ejection during infection. When a cell is infected by multiple virions, the dynamics of release of viral genomes into a cell leads to competitive interactions between viral genomes, which in turn influences viral gene expression. This affects cell’s “decision” between lysogeny (dormant state where virus does not replicate) and cell lysis caused by lytic virus replication. This article reviews the energetics, structure and mobility of the intra-capsid genome, influenced by changes in physiological parameters (temperature and ionic conditions) that are important for viral replication. The mechano-regulation of DNA ejection dynamics is also analyzed and placed in the context of viral replication dynamics.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReference Module in Life Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication categoryResearch