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Membrane-containing virus particles exhibit the mechanics of a composite material for genome protection.


ABSTRACT: The protection of the viral genome during extracellular transport is an absolute requirement for virus survival and replication. In addition to the almost universal proteinaceous capsids, certain viruses add a membrane layer that encloses their double-stranded (ds) DNA genome within the protein shell. Using the membrane-containing enterobacterial virus PRD1 as a prototype, and a combination of nanoindentation assays by atomic force microscopy and finite element modelling, we show that PRD1 provides a greater stability against mechanical stress than that achieved by the majority of dsDNA icosahedral viruses that lack a membrane. We propose that the combination of a stiff and brittle proteinaceous shell coupled with a soft and compliant membrane vesicle yields a tough composite nanomaterial well-suited to protect the viral DNA during extracellular transport.

SUBMITTER: Azinas S 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5944389 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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