Viral static question

  1. according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virus_(biology)
    helical viruses keep their genetic material in place because of "interactions between the negatively charged nucleic acid and positive charges on the protein". Why do these two structures continue to be attached to each other? I would expect them to disconnect as soon as soon as the extra electrons in the RNA neutralize the ions in the protein shell. And why are they both charged in the first place?
    thanks,
    -brainguy
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Ygggdrasil

    Ygggdrasil 1,655
    Science Advisor

    Electrons in the are not free to move to other molecules as they are in non-bonding molecular orbitals.

    The RNA and proteins acquires charge through acid/base reactions. At pH 7, it is thermodynamically favorable for the neutrally-charged hydrogen phosphate groups in nucleic acids to transfer a hydrogen to water, forming a negatively-charged phosphate and a positively-charged hydronium ion (H3O+). Similarly, at neutral pH, proteins contain basic groups that will accept a hydrogen from water in order to become positively-charged.
     
  4. I know this is old, but I asked because I was wondering if the nucleic acids could be made to fall out of the capsid if either the capsid or the nucleic acid lost its charge. Here's another question, are the molecules in the capsid willing to accept more electrons? if so, a negatively charged object could be placed near the virus,causing the protein to neutralize and the nucleic acids to fall out of the capsid, rendering the virus inert?
    -brainguy
     
  5. you want a way to bind/inhibit the viral molecules like chelation?
     
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