Viral capsids: Mechanical characteristics, genome packaging and delivery mechanisms

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The main functions of viral capsids are to protect, transport and deliver their genome. The mechanical properties of capsids are supposed to be adapted to these tasks. Bacteriophage capsids also need to withstand the high pressures the DNA is exerting onto it as a result of the DNA packaging and its consequent confinement within the capsid. It is proposed that this pressure helps driving the genome into the host, but other mechanisms also seem to play an important role in ejection. DNA packaging and ejection strategies are obviously dependent on the mechanical properties of the capsid. This review focuses on the mechanical properties of viral capsids in general and the elucidation of the biophysical aspects of genome packaging mechanisms and genome delivery processes of double-stranded DNA bacteriophages in particular.

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Authors
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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell Biology

Keywords

  • biophysics, optical tweezers, atomic force microscopy, osmotic pressure, genome delivery, capsid mechanics, genome packaging
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1484-1497
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Volume64
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes