TCBG Seminar

All-atom Molecular Dynamics Study of a Complete Virus

Mr. Peter Freddolino / Mr. Anton Arkhipov
Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group
University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois

Monday, April 10, 2006
3:00 pm (CT)
3269 Beckman Institute


Viruses are the smallest natural organisms known. They are extremely primitive and parasitic such that biologists refer to them as "particles", rather than organisms. Viruses have evolved elaborate mechanisms to infect host cells, to produce and assemble their own components, and to leave the host cell when it bursts from viral overcrowding. Because of their simplicity and small size, we selected a virus for the first attempt of all- atom simulation of an entire life form, choosing one of the tiniest viruses for this purpose, the satellite tobacco mosaic virus. This virus was simulated in a small drop of salt water, altogether involving over a million atoms. This provided an unprecedented view into the dynamics of the virus for a very brief time, revealing nevertheless the key physical properties of the viral particle as well as providing crucial information on its assembly.

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