Three-dimensional structure of the wild-type RHDV
- Cite this article as:
- Zheng, D., Xue, T., Chen, D. et al. Chin.Sci.Bull. (2001) 46: 1005. doi:10.1007/BF03183546
The three-dimensional (3D) structure of the wild-type rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) has been determined to a resolution of 3.2 nm by electron cryomicroscopy and computer image reconstruction techniques. The 3D density map exhibits characteristic structural features of a calicivirus: a T=3 icosahedral capsid with 90 arch-like capsomeres at the icosahedral and local 2-fold axes and 32 large surface hollows at the icosahedral 5- and 3-fold axes. This result confirms that the RHDV isolated in China is a member of the Caliciviridae family. A rather continuous capsid shell was found without channels. However, our RHDV structure also reveals some distinct structural characteristics not observed in other caliciviruses, including interconnected capsomeres and the lack of protuberance on the base of each of the surface hollows. Two types of particles were identified with similar outer capsid structure but different density distributions inside the capsid shells, which could not be distinguished by conventional negative staining electron microscopy. As the genomic and subgenomic RNAs are both packaged into particles for RHDV, we suggest that the two types of particles identified correspond to those containing either the genomic or subgenomic RNAs, respectively.