Paramyxovirus ultrastructure and genome packaging: cryo-electron tomography of Sendai virus

Loney, C., Mottet-Osman, G., Roux, L. and Bhella, D. (2009) Paramyxovirus ultrastructure and genome packaging: cryo-electron tomography of Sendai virus. Journal of Virology, 83(16), pp. 8191-8197. (doi:10.1128/JVI.00693-09)

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Members of the Paramyxoviridae such as measles, mumps and parainfluenza viruses have pleomorphic, enveloped virions that contain a negative-sense unsegmented RNA genome. This is encapsidated by multiple copies of a viral nucleocapsid protein N, to form a helical ribonucleoprotein complex (termed the nucleocapsid), which acts as the template for both transcription and replication. Structure analysis of these viruses has proven challenging, owing to disordered regions in important constituent proteins, conformational flexibility in the nucleocapsid and the pleomorphic nature of virus particles. We have conducted a low-resolution ultrastructural analysis of Sendai virus, a prototype paramyxovirus, using cryo-electron tomography. Virions are highly variable in size, ranging approximately from 110 to 540 nm in diameter. Envelope glycoproteins are densely packed on the virion surface, while nucleocapsids are clearly resolved in the virion interior. Subtomogram segmentation and filament tracing allowed us to define the path of many nucleocapsids and in some cases to determine the number of putative genomes within a single virus particle. Our findings indicate that these viruses may contain between one and six copies of their genome per virion and that there is no discernible order to nucleocapsid packaging.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bhella, Dr David
Authors: Loney, C., Mottet-Osman, G., Roux, L., and Bhella, D.
Subjects:Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR355 Virology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Journal of Virology
Journal Abbr.:J. Virol.
ISSN (Online):1098-5514
Published Online:03 June 2009

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