This subproject is one of many research subprojects utilizing the resources provided by a Center grant funded by NIH/NCRR. The subproject and investigator (PI) may have received primary funding from another NIH source, and thus could be represented in other CRISP entries. The institution listed is for the Center, which is not necessarily the institution for the investigator. For about half of the known virus families, the coat that protects their genome in the form of DNA or RNA is a spherical or icosahedral capsid. These capsids are composed of hundreds of copies of individual proteins that must assemble correctly, rapidly, and reproducibly on a biological timescale in order to propagate an infection in vivo. Once assembled, capsid proteins undergo a rearrangement process in which large-scale conformational changes take place to achieve their functionalities such as catalysis and regulation of activity. Elucidating the self-assembly and stability of viruses may have the potential to assist in developing novel approaches to interfere with viral infection. We have three specific projects: (i) to learn the basic physical principles governing the self-assembly of empty virus capsids by simulating large systems containing multiple capsid subunits with our newly-developed coarse-grained geometric models, (ii) to perform structural studies to investigate assembly mechanisms using our newly-developed intermediate-resolution crystal-structure-based C? model, (iii) to examine physical properties such as elastic behavior, capsid expansion / buckling transition and to explore the initial stages of virus capsid assembly by using all-atom CHARMM.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Biotechnology Resource Grants (P41)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BCMB-E (40))
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Scripps Research Institute
La Jolla
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