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The cryo-EM structure of African swine fever virus unravels a unique architecture comprising two icosahedral protein capsids and two lipoprotein membranes

DOI: 10.1074/jbc.AC119.011196 DOI Help

Authors: German Andres (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) , Diego Charro (CIC bioGUNE) , Tania Matamoros (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) , Rebecca Dillard (Leiden University) , Nicola Abrescia (CIC bioGUNE)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Journal Of Biological Chemistry

State: Published (Approved)
Published: October 2019
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 17171

Abstract: African swine fever virus (ASFV) is a complex nucleocytoplasmic large DNA virus (NCLDV) that causes a devastating swine disease currently present in many countries of Africa, Europe and Asia. Despite intense research efforts, relevant gaps on the architecture of the infectious virus particle remain. Here, we used single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to analyze the 3D structure of the mature ASFV particle. Our results show that the ASFV virion, with a radial diameter of ~2,080 Å, encloses a genome-containing nucleoid surrounded by two distinct icosahedral protein capsids and two lipoprotein membranes. The outer capsid forms a hexagonal lattice (triangulation number T=277) composed of 8,280 copies of the double jelly-roll major capsid protein (MCP) p72, arranged in trimers having a pseudo-hexameric morphology, and of 60 copies of a penton protein at the vertices. The inner protein layer, organized as a T=19 capsid, confines the core shell and it is composed of the mature products derived from the ASFV polyproteins pp220 and pp62. Also, an icosahedral membrane lies between the two protein layers, while a pleomorphic envelope wraps the outer capsid. This high-level organization confers to ASFV a unique architecture among the NCLDVs that likely reflects the complexity of its infection process and may help explain current challenges in controlling it.

Journal Keywords: African Swine virus; Structural Virology; cryo-electron microscopy; virus assembly; cryo-electron microscopy; virus assembly; infection; virus structure; DNA viruses

Subject Areas: Biology and Bio-materials

Diamond Offline Facilities: Electron Bio-Imaging Centre (eBIC)
Instruments: Krios I-Titan Krios I at Diamond