Segmentation and Comparative Modeling in an 8.6-Å Cryo-EM Map of the Singapore Grouper Iridovirus

Structure. 2019 Oct 1;27(10):1561-1569.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2019.08.002. Epub 2019 Aug 22.


SGIV, or Singapore grouper iridovirus, is a large double-stranded DNA virus, reaching a diameter of 220 nm and packaging a genome of 140 kb. We present a 3D cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) icosahedral reconstruction of SGIV determined at 8.6-Å resolution. It reveals several layers including a T = 247 icosahedral outer coat, anchor proteins, a lipid bilayer, and the encapsidated DNA. A new segmentation tool, iSeg, was applied to extract these layers from the reconstructed map. The outer coat was further segmented into major and minor capsid proteins. None of the proteins extracted by segmentation have known atomic structures. We generated models for the major coat protein using three comparative modeling tools, and evaluated each model using the cryo-EM map. Our analysis reveals a new architecture in the Iridoviridae family of viruses. It shares similarities with others in the same family, e.g., Chilo iridescent virus, but also shows new features of the major and minor capsid proteins.

Keywords: Iridovirus; anchor protein; comparative modeling; cryo-EM; icosahedral segmentation; jelly-roll domain; lipid membrane; pentasymmetron; trisymmetron.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Capsid Proteins / chemistry*
  • Capsid Proteins / metabolism
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • DNA, Viral / chemistry
  • Iridovirus / chemistry
  • Iridovirus / genetics
  • Iridovirus / metabolism*
  • Lipid Bilayers / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Conformation


  • Capsid Proteins
  • DNA, Viral
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • major capsid protein, Iridovirus