Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 9 (2008), Issue 3-4, Pages 327-337
Original Article

Conformational Changes in the Connector Protein Complex of the Bacteriophage φ29 DNA Packaging Motor

Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology and Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Received 4 February 2008; Accepted 29 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.


DNA packaging in the bacteriophage φ29 involves a molecular motor. It is proposed that dsDNA is packaged through a channel in a connector located at the 5-fold vertex of a preformed prolate icosahedral capsid. The packaging motor also consists of virally-encoded RNA molecules (pRNA) coupled to ATPases. Data obtained from studies using surface plasmon resonance, fluorescence quenching and circular dichroism are presented to demonstrate the importance of the N-termini of the connector protein subunits in pRNA interaction and in conformational change. Based on our findings, we propose a model of DNA packaging based on connector conformational change.