Molecule of the Month: Parvoviruses
Viruses that cause distemper are surrounded by an icosahedral capsid
Cats and Dogs
A Human Parvovirus
Exploring the Structure
Canine Parvovirus (PDB entry 4dpv)
Parvovirus capsids are compact, altogether just a bit bigger than a ribosome (the term "parvum" means "small" in Latin). They are composed of 60 copies of a capsid protein, surrounding a single strand of DNA. The canine parvovirus structure shown here, from PDB entry 4dpv , includes the entire structure, including proteins and DNA. The proteins are colored here in groups of five: five proteins that associate around a five-fold axis are colored white, five more are colored red, etc. Notice how the chains interlock, making a very sturdy protein shell. To see the DNA inside, click on the image for an interactive Jmol.
Topics for Further Discussion
- Can you find other examples of parvoviruses in the PDB? Are their structures similar to the feline, canine and human viruses shown here?
- The chains of parvoviruses capsid interlock with one another. Is this true of the chains of other virus capsids? What are some advantages and disadvantages of interlocking chains?
Related PDB-101 Resources
- Browse Viruses
- Browse Molecular Evolution
- M. G. Rossman, F. Arisaka, A. J. Battisti, V. D. Bowman, P. R. Chipman, A. Fokine, S. Hafenstein, S. Kanamaru, V. A. Kostyuchenko, V. V. Mesyanzhinov, M. M. Shneider, M. C. Morais, P. G. Leiman, L. M. Palermo, C. R. Parrish and C. Xiao (2007) From structure of the complex to understanding of the biology. Acta Crystallographica D63, 9-16.
- C. R. Parrish and Y. Kawaoka (2005) The origins of new pandemic viruses: the acquisition of new host ranges by canine parvovirus and influenza A viruses. Annual Review of Microbiology 59, 553-586.
- N. S. Young and K. E. Brown (2004) Parvovirus B19. New England Journal of Medicine 350: 586-597.
- K. Hueffer and C. R. Parrish (2003) Parvovirus host range, cell tropisn and evolution. Current Opinion in Microbiology 6, 392-398.
May 2010, David Goodsellhttp://doi.org/10.2210/rcsb_pdb/mom_2010_5