Concepts from group theory and tiling theory are used to construct mathematical models for viral capsids, i.e. shells formed from proteins that encapsulate the viral genome. In particular, the surface lattices of viral capsids with overall icosahedral symmetry are classified. This approach leads to Viral Tiling Theory, which describes the locations of the protein subunits and inter-subunit bonds in viral capsids. It predicts the structure of viral capsids which have fallen out of the remit of any previous theory, and in particular solves a long-standing puzzle concerning the structure of cancer-causing viruses like papillomavirus. From a mathematical point of view, this involves the classification of the local symmetries of certain classes of spherical tilings with overall icosahedral symmetry. This talk is targeted at a mathematical audience and background knowledge in biology is not required.

Research Group:

Speaker:

R. Twarock

Institution:

City University of London

Schedule:

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 08:00 to 09:00

Location:

room A

Abstract: