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Many insect viruses survive for long periods by occlusion within robust crystalline polyhedra composed primarily of a single polyhedrin protein. We show that two different virus families form polyhedra which, despite lack of sequence similarity in the virally encoded polyhedrin protein, have identical cell constants and a body-centered cubic lattice. It is almost inconceivable that this could have arisen by chance, suggesting that the crystal lattice has been preserved because it is particularly well-suited to its function of packaging and protecting viruses.

Original publication




Journal article


Protein Sci

Publication Date





2741 - 2743


Animals, Cell Line, Inclusion Bodies, Viral, Insect Viruses, Intranuclear Inclusion Bodies, Moths, Powder Diffraction, Viral Structural Proteins