Submitted to: Archives of Virology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/27/2001
Publication Date: 12/22/2001
Interpretive Summary: Viruses are generally regarded as physically inert particles. There is accumulating evidence, however, that many of their physical chemical properties can only be explained by accepting that the particles are mobile. This paper reviews the evidence.
Technical Abstract: In this review, we emphasize that high-resolution models of the structures of small plant and animal viruses obtained by X-ray crystallography are static and insufficient to describe the behavior of these virions. Viral capsids are highly flexible and may undergo conformational changes under physiological conditions without collapse of the virions. This flexibility plays a key role in the process of infection.