The role of solution conditions in the bacteriophage pp7 capsid charge regulation

Rikkert J. Nap, Anže Lošdorfer Božič, Igal Szleifer*, Rudolf Podgornik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


We investigate and quantify the effects of pH and salt concentration on the charge regulation of the bacteriophage PP7 capsid. These effects are found to be extremely important and substantial, introducing qualitative changes in the charge state of the capsid such as a transition from net-positive to net-negative charge depending on the solution pH. The overall charge of the virus capsid arises as a consequence of a complicated balance with the chemical dissociation equilibrium of the amino acids and the electrostatic interaction between them, and the translational entropy of the mobile solution ions, i.e., counterion release. We show that to properly describe and predict the charging equilibrium of viral capsids in general, one needs to include molecular details as exemplified by the acid-base equilibrium of the detailed distribution of amino acids in the proteinaceous capsid shell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1970-1979
Number of pages10
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 21 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics

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