Bacteriophage capsids: tough nanoshells with complex elastic properties.

  title={Bacteriophage capsids: tough nanoshells with complex elastic properties.},
  author={Irena L Ivanovska and Pedro J de Pablo and Borja Ibarra and Giorgia Sgalari and Fred C MacKintosh and Jos{\'e} L Carrascosa and Christoph F Schmidt and Gijs J. L. Wuite},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
  volume={101 20},
The shell of bacteriophages protects the viral DNA during host-to-host transfer and serves as a high-pressure container storing energy for DNA injection into a host bacterium. Here, we probe the mechanical properties of nanometer-sized bacteriophage phi 29 shells by applying point forces. We show that empty shells withstand nanonewton forces while being indented up to 30% of their height. The elastic response varies across the surface, reflecting the arrangement of shell proteins. The measured… CONTINUE READING

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