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Jean-Yves Sgro
Inst. for Mol.Virology
731B Bock Labs
1525 Linden Drive Madison, WI 53706

Current Papers in Structure and Assembly (Journal of Virology)

Journal of Virology Structure and Assembly

  • Molecular Characterization of a Lizard Adenovirus Reveals the First Atadenovirus with Two Fiber Genes and the First Adenovirus with Either One Short or Three Long Fibers per Penton [Structure and Assembly]

  • Although adenoviruses (AdVs) have been found in a wide variety of reptiles, including numerous squamate species, turtles, and crocodiles, the number of reptilian adenovirus isolates is still scarce. The only fully sequenced reptilian adenovirus, snake adenovirus 1 (SnAdV-1), belongs to the Atadenovirus genus. Recently, two new atadenoviruses were isolated from a captive Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) and Mexican beaded lizards (Heloderma horridum). Here we report the full genomic and proteomic characterization of the latter, designated lizard adenovirus 2 (LAdV-2). The double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) genome of LAdV-2 is 32,965 bp long, with an average G+C content of 44.16%. The overall arrangement and gene content of the LAdV-2 genome were largely concordant with those in other atadenoviruses, except for four novel open reading frames (ORFs) at the right end of the genome. Phylogeny reconstructions and plesiomorphic traits shared with SnAdV-1 further supported the assignment of LAdV-2 to the Atadenovirus genus. Surprisingly, two fiber genes were found for the first time in an atadenovirus. After optimizing the production of LAdV-2 in cell culture, we determined the protein compositions of the virions. The two fiber genes produce two fiber proteins of different sizes that are incorporated into the viral particles. Interestingly, the two different fiber proteins assemble as either one short or three long fiber projections per vertex. Stoichiometry estimations indicate that the long fiber triplet is present at only one or two vertices per virion. Neither triple fibers nor a mixed number of fibers per vertex had previously been reported for adenoviruses or any other virus.

    IMPORTANCE Here we show that a lizard adenovirus, LAdV-2, has a penton architecture never observed before. LAdV-2 expresses two fiber proteinsmmdash;one short and one long. In the virion, most vertices have one short fiber, but a few of them have three long fibers attached to the same penton base. This observation raises new intriguing questions on virus structure. How can the triple fiber attach to a pentameric vertex? What determines the number and location of each vertex type in the icosahedral particle? Since fibers are responsible for primary attachment to the host, this novel architecture also suggests a novel mode of cell entry for LAdV-2. Adenoviruses have a recognized potential in nanobiomedicine, but only a few of the more than 200 types found so far in nature have been characterized in detail. Exploring the taxonomic wealth of adenoviruses should improve our chances to successfully use them as therapeutic tools.

  • Duplication of the A17L Locus of Vaccinia Virus Provides an Alternate Route to Rifampin Resistance [Structure and Assembly]

  • Specific gene duplications can enable double-stranded DNA viruses to adapt rapidly to environmental pressures despite the low mutation rate of their high-fidelity DNA polymerases. We report on the rapid positive selection of a novel vaccinia virus genomic duplication mutant in the presence of the assembly inhibitor rifampin. Until now, all known rifampin-resistant vaccinia virus isolates have contained missense mutations in the D13L gene, which encodes a capsid-like scaffold protein required for stabilizing membrane curvature during the early stage of virion assembly. Here we describe a second pathway to rifampin resistance involving A17, a membrane protein that binds and anchors D13 to the immature virion. After one round of selection, a rifampin-resistant virus that contained a genomic duplication in the A17L-A21L region was recovered. The mutant had both C-terminally truncated and full-length A17L open reading frames. Expression of the truncated A17 protein was retained when the virus was passaged in the presence of rifampin but was lost in the absence of the drug, suggesting that the duplication decreased general fitness. Both forms of A17 were bound to the virion membrane and associated with D13. Moreover, insertion of an additional truncated or inducible full-length A17L open reading frame into the genome of the wild-type virus was sufficient to confer rifampin resistance. In summary, this report contains the first evidence of an alternate mechanism for resistance of poxviruses to rifampin, indicates a direct relationship between A17 levels and the resistance phenotype, and provides further evidence of the ability of double-stranded DNA viruses to acquire drug resistance through gene duplication.

    IMPORTANCE The present study provides the first evidence of a new mechanism of resistance of a poxvirus to the antiviral drug rifampin. In addition, it affirms the importance of the interaction between the D13 scaffold protein and the A17 membrane protein for assembly of virus particles. Resistance to rifampin was linked to a partial duplication of the gene encoding the A17 protein, similar to the resistance to hydroxyurea enabled by duplication of the gene encoding the small subunit of ribonucleotide reductase and of the K3L gene to allow adaptation to the antiviral action of protein kinase R. Gene duplication may provide a way for poxviruses and other DNA viruses with high-fidelity DNA polymerases to adjust rapidly to changes in the environment.

  • Structural Insights into the Human Metapneumovirus Glycoprotein Ectodomain [Structure and Assembly]

  • Human metapneumovirus is a major cause of respiratory tract infections worldwide. Previous reports have shown that the viral attachment glycoprotein (G) modulates innate and adaptive immune responses, leading to incomplete immunity and promoting reinfection. Using bioinformatics analyses, static light scattering, and small-angle X-ray scattering, we show that the extracellular region of G behaves as a heavily glycosylated, intrinsically disordered polymer. We discuss potential implications of these findings for the modulation of immune responses by G.