Mika Ono for the Online Weekly of the Scripps Research Institute (Aug. 30, 2010)
After more than a decade of research, Scripps Research Institute scientists have pieced together the structure of a human adenovirus -- the largest complex ever determined at atomic resolution. The new findings about the virus, which causes respiratory, eye, and gastrointestinal infections, may lead to more effective gene therapy and to new anti-viral drugs.
The study was published in the journal Science on August 27, 2010.
"We learned a number of important things about the virus from the structure, including how its key contacts are involved in its assembly," said Scripps Research Professor Glen Nemerow, who, together with Scripps Research colleague Associate Professor Vijay Reddy, led the study. "That's very important if you want to reengineer the virus for gene therapy."
"Even though a number of viral structures have been solved by x-ray crystallography, this is the biggest to date," said Reddy. "The adenovirus is 150 megadaltons, which contains roughly 1 million amino acids -- twice as big as PRD1, previously the largest virus ever solved to atomic resolution."
Crystal Structure of Human Adenovirus at 3.5 Å Resolution.
Vijay S. Reddy, S. Kundhavai Natchiar, Phoebe L. Stewart, and Glen R. Nemerow.
Science, 27 August 2010: 1071-1075 DOI: 10.1126/science.1187292
Link to Science abstract