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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Adenovirus binds to rat brain microtubules in vitro.

We have found by negative staining electron microscopy that when similar concentrations of adenovirus and reovirus (viruses of about the same diameter, 75 to 80 nm, and density, 1.34 to 1.36 g/cm3) were incubated with a carbon support film containing microtubules, 72% of adenovirus on the grid, but only 32% (equivalent to random association) of reovirus, were associated with microtubules. Similar concentrations of both larger and smaller particles, such as polystyrene latex spheres and coliphage f2, also exhibited a low degree of interaction, viz., 17 to 37%, with microtubules. Moreover, 90% of microtubule-associated adenovirus binds to within +/- 4 nm of the edge of microtubules, but lower fractions (again equivalent to a random association) of the other particles bind to the edge of the microtubules. The mechanism behind this phenomenon, which we denote as "edge binding," is presently obscure; however, it provides us with a second, albeit empirical, method to distinguish between the microtubular association of adenovirus and other particles. We found that edge binding of adenovirus also occurred when adenovirus was initially placed on the carbon support film and then incubated with microtubules and when adenovirus and microtubules were mixed prior to placement on the support. In contrast, reovirus or the other particles prepared by similar techniques exhibited a random amount of edge binding. The binding of adenovirus appears to involve the hexon capsomers of the virion since (i) high resolution electron micrographs showed that the edge of the virus was in contact with the edge of the microtubules, and (ii) adenovirions briefly treated with formamide to remove pentons and fibers bind as efficiently as intact virions. Core structures, which were obtained by further formamide degradation of the virion, do not associate with microtubules. These observations support the hypothesis of Dales and Chardonnet (1973) that the transport of adenovirions within infected cells is mediated by interaction with microtubules.[1]


  1. Adenovirus binds to rat brain microtubules in vitro. Luftig, R.B., Weihing, R.R. J. Virol. (1975) [Pubmed]
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