New progress has been made in the study of the structure of leukoplakia syndrome virus

Recently, the team of Zhang Yuzhong, professor of the College of Marine Life of Ocean University of China, the team of Guo Huarong, and the team of Shen Qingtao, professor of Southern University of Science and Technology, have made new progress in the study of the structure of leukoplakia virus, and the relevant research results have been published online in Science Progress.

Study on the structure of leukoplakia syndrome virus Courtesy of Ocean University of China

White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) is an enveloped double-stranded DNA virus, ellipsoidal, about 320 nm long and 100 nm wide, which is one of the largest viruses found so far, and is also the main pathogen causing white spot syndrome in crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs.

Leukoplakia virus is highly contagious and deadly, causing huge economic losses to fisheries and aquaculture, and there is currently no effective control method. The nucleocapsid of leukoplakia virus is closely related to viral DNA packaging and DNA injection when the virus infects host cells. To date, the structure of the nucleocapsid and the mechanism of viral infection are unknown.

This study used cryo-EM technology to analyze the high-resolution structure of the culo-shaped nucleocapsid of leukoplakia virus, and found that the nucleocapsid of leukoplakia virus exists in the form of a circular stack, which is different from the helical nucleocapsid structure of filamentous and ellipsoid viruses that have been found. During leukoplakia virus infection, the nucleocapsid underpins undergo structural transitions of ellipsoid and rod-shaped.

The study found that this transition is caused by changes in the ring structure of different layers of the nucleocapsid, which changes from ellipsoidal to rod-shaped to release the viral genome, accompanied by a smaller internal volume and loss of pressure. This study clarifies the stress-driven DNA release process and its structural basis during leukoplakia virus infection, which is helpful to better understand the leukoplakia virus infection process and provide theoretical reference for its prevention and control.

The research team led by Zhang Yuzhong has been engaged in marine microbiology and microbial oceanography research for a long time, and has achieved a series of research results in the field of structural elucidation of important proteins of marine microorganisms in recent years.

The work was cooperated by relevant scholars from Ocean University of China, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shandong University, ShanghaiTech University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and other units. The research work has been supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and other projects. (Source: China Science News, Liao Yang, Zuo Wei, Li Chunyang)

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