Published online Aug 25, 2020. doi: 10.5501/wjv.v9.i2.5
Peer-review started: May 9, 2020
First decision: June 20, 2020
Revised: July 2, 2020
Accepted: July 19, 2020
Article in press: July 19, 2020
Published online: August 25, 2020
Core tip: A detailed structural knowledge of a pathogenic virus is essential for understanding the mechanisms of capsid assembly, antigenicity, cell receptor interaction, and designing therapeutic strategies. X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy and molecular simulations have elucidated atomic-level structures of several viruses. Notably, a recently determined crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 capsid has revealed its close similarity to that of SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV. Capsid symmetry greatly contributes to virion stability and balance between genome. Enveloped icosahedral viruses are very common in animals, and rare in plants. Several of self-assembled, stable and non-infectious virus-like particles have been widely exploited as vaccine candidates and therapeutic molecules delivery vehicles.