Vertex-Specific Proteins pUL17 and pUL25 Mechanically Reinforce Herpes Simplex Virus Capsids

Joost Snijder, Kerstin Radtke, Fenja Anderson, Luella Scholtes, Eleonora Corradini, Joel Baines, Albert J. R. Heck, Gijs J. L. Wuite, Beate Sodeik, Wouter H. Roos

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Using atomic force microscopy imaging and nanoindentation measurements, we investigated the effect of the minor capsid proteins pUL17 and pUL25 on the structural stability of icosahedral herpes simplex virus capsids. pUL17 and pUL25, which form the capsid vertex-specific component (CVSC), particularly contributed to capsid resilience along the 5-fold and 2-fold but not along the 3-fold icosahedral axes. Our detailed analyses, including quantitative mass spectrometry of the protein composition of the capsids, revealed that both pUL17 and pUL25 are required to stabilize the capsid shells at the vertices. This indicates that herpesviruses withstand the internal pressure that is generated during DNA genome packaging by locally reinforcing the mechanical sturdiness of the vertices, the most stressed part of the capsids.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00123-17
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number12
Early online date26 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • AFM
  • capsid
  • herpes simplex virus
  • stability


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