Archives of Virology

, Volume 146, Issue 12, pp 2263–2274

Structural dynamics, an intrinsic property of viral capsids

  • J. Witz
  • F. Brown
Brief Review


 In this review, we emphasize that high-resolution models of the structures of small plant and animal viruses obtained by X-ray crystallography are static and insufficient to describe the behavior of these virions. Viral capsids are highly flexible and may undergo conformational changes under physiological conditions without collapse of the virions. This flexibility plays a key role in the process of infection.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Witz
    • 1
  • F. Brown
    • 2
  1. 1. Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire du CNRS, Strasbourg, FranceFR
  2. 2. Plum Island Animal Disease Center, US Department of Agriculture, Greenport, New York, U.S.A.US

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