Polymer packaging and ejection in viral capsids

Shape matters

I. Ali, D. Marenduzzo, J. M. Yeomans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We use a mesoscale simulation approach to explore the impact of different capsid geometries on the packaging and ejection dynamics of polymers of different flexibility. We find that both packing and ejection times are faster for flexible polymers. For such polymers a sphere packs more quickly and ejects more slowly than an ellipsoid. For semiflexible polymers, however, the case relevant to DNA, a sphere both packs and ejects more easily. We interpret our results by considering both the thermodynamics and the relaxational dynamics of the polymers. The predictions could be tested with biomimetic experiments with synthetic polymers inside artificial vesicles. Our results suggest that phages may have evolved to be roughly spherical in shape to optimize the speed of genome ejection, which is the first stage in infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number208102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume96
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Fingerprint

Capsid
Product Packaging
packaging
ejection
Polymers
polymers
Biomimetics
genome
biomimetics
infectious diseases
ellipsoids
Thermodynamics
Bacteriophages
flexibility
deoxyribonucleic acid
Genome
thermodynamics
DNA
geometry
predictions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Polymer packaging and ejection in viral capsids : Shape matters. / Ali, I.; Marenduzzo, D.; Yeomans, J. M.

In: Physical Review Letters, Vol. 96, No. 20, 208102, 2006.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ali, I. ; Marenduzzo, D. ; Yeomans, J. M. / Polymer packaging and ejection in viral capsids : Shape matters. In: Physical Review Letters. 2006 ; Vol. 96, No. 20.
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