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A tiling approach to virus capsid assembly explaining a structural puzzle in virology

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
DatePublished - Feb 2004
Issue number4
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)477-482
Original languageEnglish


A novel approach for the description of the protein stoichiometry of viral capsids, that is the protein shells protecting the viral genome, is introduced based on tiling theory. This approach generalizes Caspar–Klug theory of quasi-equivalence to account also for non-quasi-equivalent subunit arrangements in icosahedral virus capsids that have been observed experimentally but are not covered by the Caspar–Klug approach. In particular, the new approach is used to explain the structure of polyoma virus, Simian Virus 40 and L-A virus capsids, which are considered structural puzzles in view of Caspar–Klug theory.


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