Adenovirus Assembly

  • Lennart Philipson
Part of the The Viruses book series (VIRS)


The basic structure of all virions is a capsid enclosing the nucleic acid. Crick and Watson (1957) pointed out that the capsid structures must be built of multiple copies of one or a few protein subunits, since viruses do not have enough genetic information in their nucleic acids to code for a great variety of capsid proteins. There are two ways in which identical asymmetrical subunits can assemble to build stable regular capsids, either through helical assemblies or by forming closed shells. It was long thought that the capsid proteins, by a process of self-assembly, would transfer from an energetically unfavorable state into the capsid such that a structure of minimal free energy was obtained for the specific protein(s) in the virion. The shape of the protein molecules that serve as building blocks in the capsid may therefore determine the shape and size of the capsid.


Core Protein Adenovirus Type Nonpermissive Temperature Assembly Pathway Mature Virion 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lennart Philipson
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, The Biomedical CentreUniversity of UppsalaUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.European Molecular Biology LaboratoryHeidelbergFederal Republic of Germany

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