Cryo-electron microscopy reconstructions of triatoma virus particles: a clue to unravel genome delivery and capsid disassembly

J Agirre, G Goret, M LeGoff, R Sánchez-Eugenia, G A Marti, J Navaza, D M A Guérin, E Neumann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Triatoma virus (TrV) is a member of the insect virus family Dicistroviridae and consists of a small, non-enveloped capsid that encloses its positive-sense ssRNA genome. Using cryo-transmission electron microscopy and three-dimensional reconstruction techniques combined with fitting of the available crystallographic models, this study analysed the capsids corresponding to mature and several RNA-empty TrV particles. After genome release, the resulting reconstruction of the empty capsids displayed no prominent conformational changes with respect to the full virion capsid. The results showed that RNA delivery led to empty capsids with an apparent overall intact protein shell and suggested that, in a subsequent step, empty capsids disassemble into small symmetrical particles. Contrary to what is observed upon genome release in mammalian picornaviruses, the empty TrV capsid maintained a protein shell thickness and size identical to that in full virions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1058-68
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of general virology
Issue numberPt 5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • Animals
  • Capsid
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Crystallography
  • Dicistroviridae
  • Genome, Viral
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Insect Vectors
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Stability
  • RNA, Viral
  • Triatoma
  • Virion
  • Virus Assembly

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