Capsid Structure and Its Stability at the Late Stages of Bacteriophage SPP1 Assembly

Helen E. White, Michael B. Sherman, Sandrine Brasilès, Eric Jacquet, Philippa Seavers, Paulo Tavares, Elena V. Orlova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The structure of the bacteriophage SPP1 capsid was determined at subnanometer resolution by cryo-electron microscopy and single-particle analysis. The icosahedral capsid is composed of the major capsid protein gp13 and the auxiliary protein gp12, which are organized in a T=7 lattice. DNA is arranged in layers with a distance of~24.5 Å. gp12 forms spikes that are anchored at the center of gp13 hexamers. In a gp12-deficient mutant, the centers of hexamers are closed by loops of gp13 coming together to protect the SPP1 genome from the outside environment. The HK97-like fold was used to build a pseudoatomic model of gp13. Its structural organization remains unchanged upon tail binding and following DNA release. gp13 exhibits enhanced thermostability in the DNA-filled capsid. A remarkable convergence between the thermostability of the capsid and those of the other virion components was found, revealing that the overall architecture of the SPP1 infectious particle coevolved toward high robustness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6768-6777
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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