Rice University researchers have determined the crystal structure of the Orsay virus known to infect at least one type of nematode. The structure of the viral shell known as a capsid, seen in a computer model, will help scientists understand how such viruses infect their targets. Courtesy of the Tao Laboratory Rice University scientists have won a race to find the crystal structure of the first virus known to infect the most abundant animal on Earth. The Rice labs of structural biologist Yizhi Jane Tao and geneticist Weiwei Zhong, with help from researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Washington University, analyzed the Orsay virus that naturally infects a certain type of nematode, the worms that make up 80 percent of the living animal population. Rice researchers, from left, Professors Weiwei Zhong and Yizhi Jane Tao and graduate student Yusong Guo, have won a race to determine the structure of the first virus known to naturally infect nematodes. Photo by Jeff Fitlow The research reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences will help scientists study how viruses interact with their nematode hosts. It may also allow them to customize the virus to attack parasitic or pathogenic worms. The
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