For this study, cellular electron cryo-microscopy was used to visualize a molecular pore complex that spans both membranes of the vesicle and would allow export of RNA to the cytosol. A hexameric assembly of a large viral transmembrane protein was found to form the core of the crown-shaped complex. This structure likely plays a critical role in replication and constitutes a potential drug target. SARS-CoV-2 infected VeroE6 cells used for the study were prepared for electron cryo-tomography in part with an automated plunge freezer from Leica Microsystems. Refer to the publication for more details.
A molecular pore spans the double membrane of the coronavirus replication organelle
G. Wolff, R.W.A.L. Limpens, J.C. Zevenhoven-Dobbe, U. Laugks, S. Zheng, A.W.M. de Jong, R.I. Koning, D.A. Agard, K. Grünewald, A.J. Koster, E.J. Snijder, M. Bárcena
Science (2020) eabd3629, DOI: 10.1126/science.abd3629