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Structure and intracellular assembly of the transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus

Structure and intracellular assembly of the transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus

Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 440: 341-346

Coronaviruses have been described as pleomorphic, round particles with a helical nucleocapsid as the unique internal structure under the virion envelope. Our studies on the organization of the transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus (TGEV) have shown that the structure of these viruses is more complex. Different electron microscopy techniques, including cryomicroscopy of vitrified viruses, revealed the existence of an internal core, most probably icosahedral, in TGEV virions. Disruption of these cores induced the release of elongated ribonucleoprotein complexes. Ultrastructural analysis of freeze-substituted TGEV-infected swine testis (ST) cells showed characteristic intracellular budding profiles as well as two types of virions. While large virions with an electron-dense internal periphery are seen at perinuclear regions, smaller viral particles exhibiting compact internal cores of poligonal contours are more abundant in areas closer to the plasma membrane of the cell. These data strongly suggest that maturation events following the budding process are responsible for the formation of the internal core shell, the new structural element that we have recently described in extracellular infectious TGEV virions.

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Accession: 047456106

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PMID: 9782301

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