Structural Biology

HIV in 3D: Modeling the mesoscale

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Science  12 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6215, pp. 1339-1340
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6215.1339-h

Structural biologists have one set of tools to visualize atomiclevel details of large structures and another that reveals the nuances of small ones. But detailed models of mediumsized viruses, synaptic vessels, plasma, and the like—objects at the so-called mesoscale, ranging from 10 to 100 nanometers—have largely remained in the dark. Now, Johnson et al. have developed cellPACK, freely available software that produces 3D images of biological systems at the mesoscale. As a demonstration of cellPACK's utility, the tool purports to resolve a longstanding debate about whether HIV surface proteins are randomly distributed on the virus's surface (spoiler alert: they are not).

cellPACK's HIV model shows protein distribution on the virus's surface.

CREIDT: GRAHAM JOHNSON AND LUDOVIC AUTIN/THE SCRIPPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Nat. Methods, 10.1038/nmeth.3204 (2014)

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