Reguera Research Group

... at University of Barcelona

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Research Physics of Viruses Encapsulation/Delivery of material

Encapsulation/Delivery of material

The genetic material is the infectious part of a virus, hence without it viruses are not able to replicate within the cell. In the virus life-cycle there are two key steps that involve the genetic material: first, the delivery of this macromolecule within the machinery of the cell is essential in the process of infection. However there are many different mechanisms to achive this purpose. For instance, bacteriophages usually inject it from outside the cell, whereas other viruses penetrate into the cell and release the genetic material by disassembling or bursting their capsid. The second important step is the encapsulation of the replicated RNA/DNA. In many viruses this occurs cooperatively during the same self-assembly process that produces the capsid. However in other cases the presence of molecular motors is necessary to package the genetic material inside the capsid requiring chemical-energy (ATP) consumption.
In our research we are interested in how the presence of the genetic material or other types of cargo influences the self-assembly process of the capsid, and also in the study of the properties of the protein shells that can account for different possible mechanisms of delivery.