Structural features of the salivary gland hypertrophy virus of the tsetse fly revealed by cryo-electron microscopy and tomography

Virology. 2018 Jan 15:514:165-169. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2017.11.016. Epub 2017 Nov 27.


Glossina palipides salivary gland hypertrophy virus (GpSGHV) infects tsetse flies, which are vectors for African trypanosomosis. This virus represents a major challenge in insect mass rearing and has hampered the implementation of the sterile insect technique programs in the Member States of the International Atomic Energy Agency. GpSGHV virions consist of long rod-shaped particles over 9000Å in length, but little is known about their detailed structural organization. We show by cryo electron microscopy and cryo electron tomography that the GpSGHV virion has a unique, non-icosahedral helical structure. Its envelope exhibits regularly spaced spikes that protrude from the lipid bilayer and are arranged on a four-start helix. This study provides a detailed insight into the 3D architecture of GpSGHV, which will help to understand the viral life cycle and possibly allow the design of antiviral strategies in the context of tsetse fly infections.

Keywords: Cryo-electron microscopy; Cryo-electron tomography; Electron microscopy; Helix; Hytrosaviridae; Insect virus; SGHV; Salivary gland hypertrophy virus; Trypanosomosis; Virus structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Cytomegalovirus / physiology
  • Cytomegalovirus / ultrastructure*
  • Insect Viruses / physiology
  • Insect Viruses / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Tsetse Flies / virology*
  • Virion / physiology
  • Virion / ultrastructure