Principles for designing protein nanocages

Principles for designing protein nanocages
Prof. Roya Zandi, Dept of Physics, University of California, Riverside
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Date and time: Thu, Sep 23, 2021 - 11:30am
Location: Remote
Category: Condensed Matter Seminar

Despite the proliferation of viruses in nature, the mechanisms by which
hundreds or thousands of proteins assemble to form structures with
icosahedral order (IO) is completely unknown. In this talk, I will
discuss the results of our simulations of a minimal model and show that
the mechanical properties of building blocks including the spontaneous
curvature, flexibility and bending rigidity of coat proteins are
sufficient to predict the size, symmetry and shape selectivity of the
assembly products. Further, using continuum elasticity theory, I prove
that as a spherical cap grows, there is a deep potential well at the
locations of disclinations that later in the assembly process will
become the vertices of an icosahedron, explaining at least in part, the
error-free assembly of protein subunits into capsids with universal IO.