DNA packaging in viral capsids with peptide arms

Qianqian Cao, Michael Bachmann
2017 Soft Matter  
Strong chain rigidity and electrostatic self-repulsion of packed double-stranded DNA in viruses require a molecular motor to pull the DNA into the capsid. However, what is the role of electrostatic interactions between different charged components in the packaging process? Though various theories and computer simulation models were developed for the understanding of viral assembly and packaging dynamics of the genome, long-range electrostatic interactions and capsid structure have typically
more » ... neglected or oversimplified. By means of molecular dynamics simulations, we explore the effects of electrostatic interactions on the packaging dynamics of DNA based on a coarse-grained DNA and capsid model by explicitly including peptide arms (PAs), linked to the inner surface of the capsid, and counterions. Our results indicate that the electrostatic interactions between PAs, DNA, and counterions have a significant influence on the packaging dynamics. We also find that the packed DNA conformations are largely affected by the structure of the PA layer, but the packaging rate is insensitive to the layer structure.
doi:10.1039/c6sm02259f pmid:27981335 fatcat:o5ewlhurbbcorfxxhu4ogxvizi