Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 9 (2008), Issue 3-4, Pages 211-220
Original Article

Dynamics of Icosahedral Viruses: What Does Viral Tiling Theory Teach Us?

1Institute for Theoretical Physics, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
2Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Durham, Durham, UK

Received 18 February 2008; Accepted 1 March 2008

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We present a top-down approach to the study of the dynamics of icosahedral virus capsids, in which each protein is approximated by a point mass. Although this represents a rather crude coarse-graining, we argue that it highlights several generic features of vibrational spectra which have been overlooked so far. We furthermore discuss the consequences of approximate inversion symmetry as well as the role played by viral tiling theory in the study of virus capsid vibrations.