Exploiting complex fluorophore interactions to monitor virus capsid disassembly

Swarupa Chatterjee, Bram A. Schotpoort, Thieme Elbert, Jeroen J.L.M. Cornelissen, Mireille M.A.E. Claessens, Christian Blum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Supramolecular protein complexes are the corner stone of biological processes; they are essential for many biological functions. Unraveling the interactions responsible for the (dis)assembly of these complexes is required to understand nature and to exploit such systems in future applications. Virus capsids are well‐defined assemblies of hundreds of proteins and form the outer shell of non‐enveloped viruses. Due to their potential as a drug carriers or nano‐reactors and the need for virus inactivation strategies, assessing the intactness of virus capsids is of great interest. Current methods to evaluate the (dis)assembly of these protein assemblies are experimentally demanding in terms of instrumentation, expertise and time. Here we investigate a new strategy to monitor the disassembly of fluorescently labeled virus capsids. To monitor surfactant‐induced capsid disassembly, we exploit the complex photophysical interplay between multiple fluorophores conjugated to capsid proteins. The disassembly of the capsid changes the photophysical interactions between the fluorophores, and this can be spectrally monitored. The presented data show that this low complexity method can be used to study and monitor the disassembly of supramolecular protein complexes like virus capsids. However, the range of labeling densities that is suitable for this assay is surprisingly narrow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5750
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Dark aggregates
  • Fluorophore self‐quenching
  • Förster resonance energy transfer
  • Photophysical interactions
  • Virus capsid
  • Virus inactivation
  • UT-Gold-D

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