Forum 01/23/2003

“Icosahedral Viruses as Scaffolds for Structural Studies and Nanomaterials”

Tianwei Lin, Assistant Professor – Department of Molecular Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA

We are a group of structural virologists, with X-ray crystallography as the primary research tool.  A focus of our work is on Cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV), an icosahedral plant virus with a size of 30nm.  We exploited the virus system as a source of vaccines by presenting exogenous peptides on the virus surface.  By extension of this chimeric virus technology, the virus system is being developed as a platform for generation of nano-biomaterials and a s a scaffold for structural studies by cryoEM and X-ray crystallography.  CPMV is also the subject of biophysical studies with pressure as the thermodynamic perturbation.