Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Unveiling the Hidden Rules of Spherical Viruses Using Point Arrays

Version 1 : Received: 13 January 2020 / Approved: 20 January 2020 / Online: 20 January 2020 (06:59:09 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Wilson, D.P. Unveiling the Hidden Rules of Spherical Viruses Using Point Arrays. Viruses 2020, 12, 467. Wilson, D.P. Unveiling the Hidden Rules of Spherical Viruses Using Point Arrays. Viruses 2020, 12, 467.


Since its introduction, the Triangulation number has been the most successful and ubiquitous scheme for classifying spherical viruses. However, despite its many successes, it fails to describe the relative angular orientations of proteins, as well as their radial mass distribution within the capsid. It also fails to provide any insight into critical sites of stability, modifications or possible mutations. We show how classifying spherical viruses using icosahedral point arrays, introduced by Keef and Twarock, unveils new geometric rules and constraints for understanding virus stability and key locations for exterior and interior modifications. We present a modified fitness measure which classifies viruses in an unambiguous and rigorous manner, irrespective of local surface chemistry, steric hinderance, solvent accessibility or triangulation number. We then utilize these point arrays to explain the immutable surface loops of bacteriophage MS2, the relative reactivity of surface lysines in CPMV and the non-quasiequivalent flexibility of the HBV dimers. We explain how using sister and double point arrays can function as predictive tools for site directed modifications in other systems. This success builds on our previous work showing that viruses place their protruding features along the great circles of the asymmetric unit, demonstrating that viruses indeed adhere to these geometric constraints.


protruding features; spherical virus; point arrays; surface modifications; VLP; drug delivery; icosahedral; nanomedicine; ligand binding


Biology and Life Sciences, Virology

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 23 January 2020
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: Hello, I'm excited to discuss this work with anyone interested, thank you. David
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