Marc C. Morais

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Motors generating mechanical force, powered by the hydrolysis of ATP, translocate double-stranded DNA into preformed capsids (proheads) of bacterial viruses and certain animal viruses. Here we describe the motor that packages the double-stranded DNA of the Bacillus subtilis bacteriophage phi29 into a precursor capsid. We determined the structure of the(More)
Bacteriophage phi29 is one of the smallest and simplest known dsDNA phages, making it amenable to structural investigations. The three-dimensional structure of a fiberless, isometric variant has been determined to 7.9 A resolution by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), allowing the identification of alpha helices and beta sheets. Their arrangement indicates(More)
Three-dimensional structures of the double-stranded DNA bacteriophage phi29 scaffolding protein (gp7) before and after prohead assembly have been determined at resolutions of 2.2 and 2.8 A, respectively. Both structures are dimers that resemble arrows, with a four-helix bundle composing the arrowhead and a coiled coil forming the tail. The structural(More)
Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a member of the Bunyaviridae virus family (genus Phlebovirus) and is considered to be one of the most important pathogens in Africa, causing viral zoonoses in livestock and humans. Here, we report the characterization of the three-dimensional structural organization of RVFV vaccine strain MP-12 by cryoelectron tomography.(More)
Phosphonoacetaldehyde hydrolase (phosphonatase) catalyzes the hydrolytic P-C bond cleavage of phosphonoacetaldehyde (Pald) to form orthophosphate and acetaldehyde. The reaction proceeds via a Schiff-base intermediate formed between Lys-53 and the Pald carbonyl. The x-ray crystal structures of the wild-type phosphonatase complexed with Mg(II) alone or with(More)
Although many viruses are icosahedral when they initially bind to one or more receptor molecules on the cell surface, such an interaction is asymmetric, probably causing a breakdown in the symmetry and conformation of the original infecting virion in preparation for membrane penetration and release of the viral genome. Cryoelectron microscopy and(More)
A method has been developed for three-dimensional image reconstruction of symmetry-mismatched components in tailed phages. Although the method described here addresses the specific case where differing symmetry axes are coincident, the method is more generally applicable, for instance, to the reconstruction of images of viral particles that deviate from(More)
Cryo-electron microscopy three-dimensional reconstructions have been made of mature and of emptied bacteriophage phi29 particles without making symmetry assumptions. Comparisons of these structures with each other and with the phi29 prohead indicate how conformational changes might initiate successive steps of assembly and infection. The 12 adsorption(More)
NATURE | VOL 408 | 7 DECEMBER 2000 | www.nature.com 745 21. Takeuchi, O. et al. Differential roles of TLR2 and TLR4 in recognition of gram-negative and grampositive bacterial cell wall components. Immunity 11, 443±451 (1999). 22. Takeuchi, O. et al. Preferentially the R-stereoisomer of the mycoplasmal lipopeptide macrophageactivating lipopeptide-2 activates(More)
Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) studies of the bacteriophage phi29 DNA packaging motor have delineated the relative positions and molecular boundaries of the 12-fold symmetric head-tail connector, the 5-fold symmetric prohead RNA (pRNA), the ATPase that provides the energy for packaging, and the procapsid. Reconstructions, assuming 5-fold symmetry, were(More)