Atomic force microscopy observation and characterization of single virions and virus-like particles by nano-indentation

M. Marchetti, G.J.L. Wuite, W.H. Roos

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Structure and function of viruses are intimately related, and one of the goals in virology is to elucidate the mechanisms behind this relation. A variety of research endeavours is focused on studying these mechanisms and a relatively new technique in this field is Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Using AFM virions and virus-like particles can be imaged and manipulated at the single particle level. Here we review recent AFM nano-indentations studies unveiling for instance the mechanics of capsid-genome interactions, morphological changes that drive viral maturation, capsid stabilizing factors and viral uncoating. We show that in an increasing amount of literature a clear link between mechanics and infectivity is observed, which not only provides us with new fundamental insights into virology, but also provides ways to improve virus-like particles for applications in nanomedicine and nanotechnology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-88
JournalCurrent Opinion in Virology
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Cite this