Sequential Assembly of Virus Particles

  • Dale Kaiser
Part of the ALZA Conference Series book series (ALZA, volume 2)


Animals and plants have a pleasing variety of shapes. But most virus particles are either rods or spheres. The reason is that virus particles are like surface crystals with a regular arrangement of their constituent molecules. Viruses usually are rods or spheres because there are only two kinds of symmetry for surface crystals: helical symmetry, which gives rods, and cubic symmetry, which gives spheres or polyhedra. The regularity of the structure of viruses reflects the fact that they assemble themselves by a process akin to crystalization.


Virus Particle Assembly Line Phage Particle Bacteriophage Lambda Normal Head 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale Kaiser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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