Contact mechanics of a small icosahedral virus

Cheng Zeng, Mercedes Hernando-Pérez, Bogdan Dragnea, Xiang Ma, Paul van der Schoot, Roya Zandi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
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A virus binding to a surface causes stress of the virus cage near the contact area. Here, we investigate the potential role of substrate-induced structural perturbation in the mechanical response of virus particles to adsorption. This is particularly relevant to the broad category of viruses stabilized by weak noncovalent interactions. We utilize atomic force microscopy to measure height distributions of the brome mosaic virus upon adsorption from solution on atomically flat substrates and present a continuum model that captures our observations and provides estimates of elastic properties and of the interfacial energy of the virus, without recourse to indentation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number038102
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2017


  • q-bio.QM
  • cond-mat.soft


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