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Picorna family virus

Salient features of the structure of SVV-001. (a) Subunit organization highlighting the important loop regions in VP1 (blue), VP2 (green), VP3 (red) and VP4 (yellow). (b) Organization of the above subunits in the assembled capsid. (c) Surface-rendered image of SVV-001 showing the most exposed residues in shades of yellow and the least in shades of blue. (d) Cutaway view showing the organization of RNA (magenta) in the SVV particle. Half of the protein subunits surrounding the RNA are shown as ribbons.

Structure 16, 1555 (October 8, 2008)

Viruses are small particles composed of protein and nucleic acid that are known for their ability to cause infectious diseases, such as the flu, and some cancers. What they are less known for is their ability to treat cancer. However, this possibility has been studied since the 1950s, when the first clinical trials investigating the use of viruses to treat cervical cancer were initiated. Research has progressed in this area and new viruses have been identified that can selectively kill tumor cells. One of these is the new picorna family virus, Seneca Valley Virus-001 (SVV-001), which is unique enough to be given its own genus. In recent work performed at the BioCARS 14-BM beamline at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory under biohazard safety level 2 (BSL2) conditions, researchers elucidated the three-dimensional structure of this remarkable RNA virus. This work produced important information about a new viral genus and may provide answers to the question of how some viruses specifically recognize and kill cancer cells.


Argonne National Laboratory.

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Taken on September 23, 2009