1887

Abstract

The simian virus 40 (SV40) capsid is composed of 72 pentamers of VP1, the major protein of SV40. These pentamers are arranged in a =7 icosahedral surface lattice, which is maintained by three types of appropriately arranged, non-equivalent interactions between the pentamers. However, it remains unclear how these interactions are achieved. In this study, the assembly of recombinant VP1 was analysed. Electron microscopy observations revealed that these recombinant VP1 proteins assembled into structurally polymorphic particles depending on environmental conditions. VP1 pentamers assembled efficiently into virus-like particles (VLPs) when high concentrations of ammonium sulfate were present. However, in the presence of 1 M NaCl and 2 mM CaCl at neutral pH, VP1 pentamers formed not only VLPs but also produced tiny =1 icosahedral particles and tubular structures. The exclusion of CaCl resulted in the exclusive formation of tiny particles. In contrast, in the presence of 150 mM NaCl at pH 5, the VP1 pentamers produced only extraordinarily long tubular structures. VP1 is thus quite unique in that it can assemble into such diverse structures. These observations provide clues that will help elucidate the mechanisms underlying SV40 capsid formation.

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2003-07-01
2019-10-22
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