To gain more insight into the structure of the African horsesickness virus (AHSV) core particle, we have cloned, partially characterized and expressed the two major core proteins, VP3 and VP7, of AHSV-9. VP7 was found to be highly conserved amongst different serotypes. The VP3 and VP7 genes were subsequently expressed in insect cells by means of recombinant baculoviruses. VP7 was synthesized to very high levels and aggregated into distinctive crystals. Co-expression of VP3 and VP7 resulted in the intracellular formation of core-like particles which structurally resembled empty AHSV cores.


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