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Durham University

Department of Mathematical Sciences

Academic Staff

Publication details for Anne Taormina

Keef, T., Taormina, A. & Twarock, R. (2006). Classification of capped tubular viral particles in the family of Papovaviridae. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 18(14): 375-387.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

A vital constituent of a virus is its protein shell, called the viral capsid, that encapsulates and hence provides protection for the viral genome. Viral capsids are usually spherical, and for a significant number of viruses they exhibit overall icosahedral symmetry. The corresponding surface lattices, that encode the locations of the capsid proteins and intersubunit bonds, can be modelled by viral tiling theory. It has been shown in vitro that under a variation of the experimental boundary conditions, such as the pH value and salt concentration, tubular particles may appear instead of, or in addition to, spherical ones. In order to develop models that describe the simultaneous assembly of both spherical and tubular variants, and hence study the possibility of triggering tubular malformations as a means of interference with the replication mechanism, viral tiling theory has to be extended to include tubular lattices with end caps. We focus here on the case of Papovaviridae, which play a distinguished role from the viral structural point of view as they correspond to all pentamer lattices, i.e. lattices formed from clusters of five protein subunits throughout. These results pave the way for a generalization of recently developed assembly models.