Cryo-electron microscopy reconstructions of two types of wild rabbit hemorrhagic disease viruses characterized the structural features of Lagovirus
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- Hu, Z., Tian, X., Zhai, Y. et al. Protein Cell (2010) 1: 48. doi:10.1007/s13238-010-0007-0
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease was described in China in 1984 and can cause hemorrhagic necrosis of the liver within two or three days after infection. The etiological agent, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), belongs to the Lagovirus genus in the Caliciviridae family. Compared to other calicivirus, such as rNV and SMSV, the structure of Lagovirus members is not well characterized. In this report, structures of two types of wild RHDV particles, the intact virion and the core-like particle (CLP), were reconstructed by cryo-electron microscopy at 11 &0A and 17 &0A, respectively. This is the first time the 3D structure of wild caliciviruses CLP has been provided, and the 3D structure of intact RHDV virion is the highest resolution structure in Lagovirus. Comparison of the intact virion and CLP structures clearly indicated that CLP was produced from the intact virion with the protrusion dissociated. In contrast with the crystal structures of recombinant Norovirus and San Miguel sea lion virus, the capsomers of RHDV virion exhibited unique structural features and assembly modes. Both P1 and P2 subdomains have interactions inside the AB capsomer, while only P2 subdomains have interaction inside CC capsomer. The pseudo atomic models of RHDV capsomers were constructed by homology modeling and density map fitting, and the rotation of RHDV VP60 P domain with respect to its S domain, compared with SMSV, was observed. Collectively, our cryo-electron microscopic studies of RHDV provide close insight into the structure of Lagovirus, which is important for functional analysis and better vaccine development in the future.