Electron cryotomography reveals the portal in the herpesvirus capsid

J Virol. 2007 Feb;81(4):2065-8. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02053-06. Epub 2006 Dec 6.


Herpes simplex virus type 1 is a human pathogen responsible for a range of illnesses from cold sores to encephalitis. The icosahedral capsid has a portal at one fivefold vertex which, by analogy to portal-containing phages, is believed to mediate genome entry and exit. We used electron cryotomography to determine the structure of capsids lacking pentons. The portal vertex appears different from pentons, being located partially inside the capsid shell, a position equivalent to that of bacteriophage portals. Such similarity in portal organization supports the idea of the evolutionary relatedness of these viruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Capsid / chemistry*
  • Capsid Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / chemistry*
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Tomography
  • Urea


  • Capsid Proteins
  • Urea