Earnshaw WC, King J and Eiserling, FA (1978) J Mol Biol., 122(2), 247-253.

The size of the bacteriophage T4 head in solution with comments about the dimension of virus particles as visualized by electron microscopy.


We report X-ray diffraction results permitting calculation of the radius of the bacteriophage T4 head in solution. Isometric headed mutant particles, consisting of the two hemispherical caps of wild-type T4, were found to be spheres of radius 425 Å. Giant headed particles, an amplification of the extra capsomeres which give the T4 head its prolate shape, were found to be cylinders of radius 427 Å. We use these and other small-angle X-ray diffraction results in a quantitative discussion of the distortion artefacts caused by a number of electron microscope specimen preparation techniques.

small P22 phage link to home The Jonathan King Home Page