X-ray diffraction from oriented tulip virus X (TVX) particles and optical diffraction from electron micrographs show that the virus particles have a helical structure with a pitch of about 3.25 nm and a true repeat in five turns of the helix. Both X-ray and optical diffraction indicate that the number of subunits in the repeat period is 5q + 4, where q is an integer. The X-ray diffraction patterns suggest that 9 ⩾ q ⩾ 6, and the optical diffraction patterns suggest that q is probably 7 or 8. The X-ray diffraction patterns indicate that there is a marked feature in the virus particle at a radial position of about 3.3 nm, which is probably the RNA. The equatorial diffraction further suggests that the virus has an axial hole of about 1.5 nm radius.


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