Impact of a nonuniform charge distribution on virus assembly

S. Li, G. Erdemci-Tandogan, J. Wagner, P.P.A.M. van der Schoot, R. Zandi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
104 Downloads (Pure)


Many spherical viruses encapsulate their genomes in protein shells with icosahedral symmetry. This process is spontaneous and driven by electrostatic interactions between positive domains on the virus coat proteins and the negative genomes. We model the effect of the nonuniform icosahedral charge distribution from the protein shell instead using a mean-field theory. We find that this nonuniform charge distribution strongly affects the optimal genome length and that it can explain the experimentally observed phenomenon of overcharging of virus and viruslike particles.
Original languageEnglish
Article number022401
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2017


  • Capsid Proteins/chemistry
  • Genome, Viral/physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA, Viral/chemistry
  • Static Electricity
  • Virus Assembly/physiology


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