Heterocapsa circularisquama RNA virus is a non-enveloped icosahedral ssRNA virus infectious to the harmful bloom-forming dinoflagellate, H. circularisquama, and which is assumed to be the major natural agent controlling the host population. The viral capsid is constructed from a single gene product. Electron cryo-microscopy revealed that the virus has a diameter of 34 nm and T=3 symmetry. The 180 quasi-equivalent monomers have an unusual arrangement in that each monomer contributes to a 'bump' on the surface of the protein. Though the capsid protein probably has the classic 'jelly roll' β-sandwich fold, this is a new packing arrangement and is distantly related to the other positive-sense ssRNA virus capsid proteins. The handedness of the structure has been determined by a novel method involving high resolution scanning electron microscopy of the negatively stained viruses and secondary electron detection.
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