Structure of the maize streak virus geminate particle

Wei Zhang, Norman H. Olson, Timothy S. Baker, Lee Faulkner, Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, Margaret I. Boulton, Jeffrey W. Davies, Robert McKenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

127 Scopus citations


The Geminiviridae is an extensive family of plant viruses responsible for economically devastating diseases in crops worldwide. Geminiviruses package circular, single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) genomes. The characteristic twinned or "geminate" particles, which consist of two joined, incomplete T = 1 icosahedra, are unique among viruses. We have determined the first structure of a geminivirus particle, the Nigerian strain of Maize streak virus (MSV-N), using cryo-electron microscopy and three-dimensional image reconstruction methods. The particle, of dimensions 220 x 380 Å, has an overall 52-point-group symmetry, in which each half particle "head" consists of the coat protein (CP) arranged with quasi-icosahedral symmetry. We have modeled the MSV-N CP as an eight-stranded, antiparallel β-barrel motif (a structural motif common to all known ssDNA viruses) with an N-terminal α-helix. This has produced a model of the geminate particle in which 110 copies of the CP nicely fit into the reconstructed density map. The reconstructed density map and MSV-N pseudo-atomic model demonstrate that the geminate particle has a stable, defined structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-477
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cryo-electron microscopy
  • Geminiviridae
  • Icosahedral capsid
  • Maize streak virus
  • Three-dimensional image reconstruction
  • ssDNA virus

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    Zhang, W., Olson, N. H., Baker, T. S., Faulkner, L., Agbandje-McKenna, M., Boulton, M. I., Davies, J. W., & McKenna, R. (2001). Structure of the maize streak virus geminate particle. Virology, 279(2), 471-477.