Structural Biology of HIV

HIV is unusual in the heterogeneity of its viral particles, making its structure impossible to solve by X-ray crystallography or cryo-EM single particle reconstruction. Thus, while there were hundreds of atomic structures of protein domains, it was unclear how they fit together until we used ECT to produce the first 3-dimensional reconstruction of HIV-1. Our subsequent work has lent support to the “fullerene cone” model of the capsid, as well as a “curled sheet” model of assembly.
Current studies focus on further unraveling the structure of the capsid, as well as mechanistic details of infection, viral assembly, and egress from host cells.