Viral DNA packaging motors

C. L. Hetherington, J. R. Moffitt, P. J. Jardine, C. Bustamante

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


In viral DNA packaging, the genome is compacted to high densities into a capsid by an ATP-hydrolyzing molecular motor. The study of viral packaging has advanced dramatically in recent years due to new biophysical methods, particularly single-molecule techniques. We review the insights afforded by these new tools into the initiation, translocation, and termination phases of the packaging process. Furthermore, by integrating single-molecule data with structural and biochemical information from related molecular motors, we develop and present a possible molecular model for ATP-dependent translocation by a viral packaging motor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComprehensive Biophysics
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9780080957180
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012


  • ATPase
  • Bacteriophage
  • DNA translocation
  • Mechanochemistry
  • Molecular motor
  • Optical tweezers
  • Single-molecule
  • Terminase
  • Viral packaging
  • Virus


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