Size regulation of ss-RNA viruses

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While a monodisperse size distribution is common within one kind of spherical virus, the size of viral shells varies from one type of virus to another. In this article, we investigate the physical mechanisms underlying the size selection among spherical viruses. In particular, we study the effect of genome length and genome and protein concentrations on the size of spherical viral capsids in the absence of spontaneous curvature and bending energy. We find that the coat proteins could well adjust the size of the shell to the size of their genome, which in turn depends on the number of charges on it. Furthermore, we find that different stoichiometric mixtures of proteins and genome can produce virus particles of various sizes, consistent with in vitro experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-20
Number of pages12
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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