If you’ve ever had a cold, diarrhea, or pink eye you are probably familiar with the adenovirus. This virus has been a subject of research interest for a long time, but due to its massive size (it is the largest non-enveloped virus), its atomic structure has never been mapped… that is until now!
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute finally were able to unlock the secrets of the contagion by applying a tried and true method, x-ray crystallography, but with some more finesse. By utilizing a robotic system and a powerful new x-ray beam, scientists were finally able to map the atomic structure of the biggest virus mapped thus far.
Adenovirus is of particular interest to scientists for its possible use in gene therapy. By better understanding the atomic structure, the virus can be better utilized to target specific cells for therapy.
Press release: Scripps Research Scientists Unveil Structure of Adenovirus, the Largest High-Resolution Complex Ever Found
Abstract in Science: Crystal Structure of Human Adenovirus at 3.5 Å Resolution