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Polyomavirus capsids are polymorphic under different chemical conditions. These capsids have been synthesized artificially using purified VP1, the primary building block of the capsid. Five VP1 proteins come together and form a highly stable structure called a pentamer, and these pentamers can form capsids (Figure 1). Depending on chemical conditions, the capsids can form three distinct sizes: T=7, octahedral and icosahedral (Figure 2). Only one form is found in infectious virions, and its structure has been well studied. However, no high-resolution structure of the octahedral capsid currently exists. The goal of this research is to solve the structure of the octahedral capsid by electron microscopy and image classification. A streamlined protein purification protocol will be used to isolate VP1 to provide many octahedral particles for successful electron microscopy.


Utah State University

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Chemistry | Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Synthesizing Octahedral Polyomavirus Capsids for Cryogenic Electron Microscopy

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