Impact of a nonuniform charge distribution on virus assembly
AbstractMany spherical viruses encapsulate their genomes in protein shells with icosahedral symmetry. This process is spontaneous and driven by electrostatic interactions between positive domains on the virus coat proteins and the negative genomes. We model the effect of the nonuniform icosahedral charge distribution from the protein shell instead using a mean-field theory. We find that this nonuniform charge distribution strongly affects the optimal genome length and that it can explain the experimentally observed phenomenon of overcharging of virus and viruslike particles.