(231af) A Molecular Thermodynamic Model for the Stability of Hepatitis B Capsids | AIChE

(231af) A Molecular Thermodynamic Model for the Stability of Hepatitis B Capsids


Kim, J. - Presenter, University of California, Riverside
Wu, J., University of California at Riverside

Self-assembly of capsid proteins and genome encapsidation are two critical steps in the life cycle of most plant and animal viruses. A theoretical description of such processes from a physiochemical perspective may help better understand viral replication and morphogenesis thus provide fresh insights into the experimental studies of antiviral strategies. In this work, we propose a molecular thermodynamic model for predicting the stability of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) capsids either with or without loading nucleic materials. With the key components represented by coarse-grained thermodynamic models, the theoretical predictions are in excellent agreement with experimental data for the formation free energies of empty T4 capsids over a broad range of temperature and ion concentrations. The theoretical model predicts T3/T4 dimorphism also in good agreement with the capsid formation at in vivo and in vitro conditions. In addition, we have studied the stability of the viral particles in response to physiological cellular conditions with the explicit consideration of the hydrophobic association of capsid subunits, electrostatic interactions, molecular excluded volume effects, entropy of mixing, and conformational changes of the biomolecular species. The course-grained model captures the essential features of the HBV nucleocapsid stability revealed by recent experiments.