Crystallization, structural diversity and anisotropy effects in 2D arrays of icosahedral viruses

  • Fukuto M
  • Nguyen Q
  • Vasilyev O
 et al. 
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We investigate two-dimensional (2D) assembly of the icosahedral turnip
yellow mosaic virus (TYMV) under cationic lipid monolayers at the
aqueous solution-vapor interface. The 2D crystallization of TYMV has
been achieved by enhancing electrostatically induced interfacial
adsorption, an approach recently demonstrated for another virus. In situ
X-ray scattering reveals two close-packed 2D crystalline phases of TYMV
that are distinct from the previously reported hexagonal and centered
square (root 2 x root 2) arrays of TYMV. One of the newly observed
phases arises from either a dimeric double-square (2 x 1) or tetrameric
square (2 x 2) unit cell. The other is a rhombic crystal with a lattice
angle of 80 degrees. The two observed crystal phases are substantially
less dense (by over10%) than a 2D lattice of TYMV could be according to
its known size and shape, indicating that local anisotropic
interparticle interactions play a key role in stabilizing these
crystals. TYMV's anisotropy attributes and numerical analysis of 2D
arrays of virus-shaped particles are used to derive a model for the
rhombic crystal in which the particle orientation is consistent with the
electrostatic lipid-TYMV attraction and the interparticle contacts
exhibit steric complementarity. The interplay between particle
anisotropy and packing is contrasted between the rhombic crystal model
and the square(root 2 x root 2) crystal. This study highlights how the
high symmetry and subtle asphericity of icosahedral particles enrich the
variety and complexity of ordered 2D structures that can be generated
through self-assembly.

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