Three-dimensional structure of the HSV1 nucleocapsid

Cell. 1989 Feb 24;56(4):651-60. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(89)90587-4.


The three-dimensional structures of full and empty capsids of HSV1 were determined by computer analysis of low dose cryo-electron images of ice embedded capsids. The full capsid structure is organized into outer, intermediate, and inner structural layers. The empty capsid structure has only one layer which is indistinguishable from the outer layer of the full capsids. This layer is arranged according to T = 16 icosahedral symmetry. The intermediate layer of full capsids appears to lie on a T = 4 icosahedral lattice. The genomic DNA is located inside the T = 4 shell and is the component of the innermost layer of the full capsids. The outer and intermediate layers interact in such a way that the channels along their icosahedral two-fold axis coincide and form a direct pathway between the DNA and the environment outside the capsid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Capsid / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Models, Structural
  • Simplexvirus / ultrastructure*
  • Viral Core Proteins / ultrastructure*


  • Viral Core Proteins