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A model for the structure of satellite tobacco mosaic virus


Satellite tobacco mosaic virus (STMV) is an icosahedral T=1 single-stranded RNA virus with a genome containing 1058 nucleotides. X-ray crystallography revealed a structure containing 30 double-helical RNA segments, with each helix having nine base pairs and an unpaired nucleotide at the 3' end of each strand. Based on this structure, Larson and McPherson proposed a model of 30 hairpin-loop elements occupying the edges of the icosahedron and connected by single-stranded regions. More recently, Schroeder et al. have combined the results of chemical probing with a novel helix searching algorithm to propose a specific secondary structure for the STMV genome, compatible with the Larson-McPherson model. Here we report an all-atom model of STMV, using the complete protein and RNA sequences and the Schroeder RNA secondary structure. As far as we know, this is the first all-atom model for the complete structure of any virus (100% of the atoms) using the natural genomic sequence.

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