Virology, Nebraska Center for


Date of this Version



PNAS , September 6, 2011, vol. 108, no. 36, pp. 14837–14842; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1107847108


A cryoelectron microscopy 8.5 Å resolution map of the 1,900 Å diameter, icosahedral, internally enveloped Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus was used to interpret structures of the virus at initial stages of cell infection. A fivefold averaged map demonstrated that two minor capsid proteins involved in stabilizing the capsid are missing in the vicinity of the unique vertex. Reconstruction of the virus in the presence of host chlorella cell walls established that the spike at the unique vertex initiates binding to the cell wall, which results in the enveloped nucleocapsid moving closer to the cell. This process is concurrent with the release of the internal viral membrane that was linked to the capsid by many copies of a viral membrane protein in the mature infectous virus. Simultaneously, part of the trisymmetrons around the unique vertex disassemble, probably in part because two minor capsid proteins are absent, causing Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus and the cellular contents to merge, possibly as a result of enzyme(s) within the spike assembly. This may be one of only a few recordings of successive stages of a virus while infecting a eukaryotic host in pseudoatomic detail in three dimensions.

Includes supporting information.

Included in

Virology Commons