Structure and Physics of Viruses

Volume 68 of the series Subcellular Biochemistry pp 203-246


Combined Approaches to Study Virus Structures

  • Daniel Badia-MartinezAffiliated withStructural Biology Unit, CICbioGUNE, CIBERehd, Bizkaia Technology Park
  • , Hanna M. OksanenAffiliated withInstitute of Biotechnology and Department of Biosciences, Viikki Biocenter, University of Helsinki
  • , David I. StuartAffiliated withDivision of Structural Biology, The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of OxfordDiamond Light Source Ltd
  • , Nicola G. A. AbresciaAffiliated withStructural Biology Unit, CICbioGUNE, CIBERehd, Bizkaia Technology ParkIkerbasque, Basque Foundation for Science Email author 

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A virus particle must work as a safe box for protecting its genome, but at the same time it has to undergo dramatic conformational changes in order to preserve itself by propagating in a cell infection. Thus, viruses are miniaturized wonders whose structural complexity requires them to be investigated by a combination of different techniques that can tackle both static and dynamic processes. In this chapter we will illustrate how major structural techniques such as X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy have been and can be combined with other techniques to determine the structure of complex viruses. The power of these hybrid method approaches are revealed through the various examples provided.


Hybrid methods X-ray crystallography Electron microscopy Cryo-electron microscopy Electron tomography Cryo-electron tomography Small-angle X-ray scattering Virus Bacteriophage Capsid Mutagenesis Dissociation Crystal structure Fitting