A coarse-grained model of the expansionof the human rhinovirus 2 capsid revealsinsights in genome release

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Human rhinoviruses are causative agents of the common cold. In order torelease their RNA genome into the host during a viral infection, these smallviruses must undergo conformational changes in their capsids, whosedetailed mechanism is strictly related to the process of RNA extrusion,which has been only partially elucidated. We study here a mathematicalmodel for the structural transition between the native particle of human rhi-novirus type 2 and its expanded form, viewing the process as an energycascade, i.e. a sequence of metastable states with decreasing energy connectedby minimum energy paths. We explore several transition pathways anddiscuss their implications for the RNA exit process
Original languageEnglish
Article number20190044
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number157
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2019


  • minimum energy paths
  • energy landscape
  • viral structuraltransitions

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