Researchers used the C-Trap™ optical tweezers – fluorescence microscopy system and acoustic force spectroscopy (AFS) to study the processes underlying viral assembly. The study evaluated the capsid formation and DNA condensation of virus-like particles (VLPs) at the single-molecule level and in real time. The results serve to expand our understanding of the assembly-mechanisms of both VLPs and naturally occurring viruses.
The findings from the study “Real-Time Assembly of Viruslike Nucleocapsids Elucidated at the Single-Particle Level” appeared in the journal Nano Letters. Congratulations to all the authors!
The researchers first assessed viral assembly using optical tweezers combined with confocal microscopy to detect kinetic differences linked with particle growth of rod-shaped VLPs. According to their observations, the dynamics of VLP growth depended on the sizes of the DNA-binding oligomers.
The team finally used multiplexed acoustic forces, which enabled them to measure the end-to-end distances of single DNA molecules in parallel. The results uncovered the stepwise process responsible for DNA compaction during capsid formation.