Mechanical Characterization of HIV-1 with a Solid-State Nanopore Sensor


Enveloped viruses fuse with cells to transfer their genetic materials and infect the host cell. Fusion requires deformation of both viral and cellular membranes. Since the rigidity of viral membrane is a key factor in their infectivity, studying the rigidity of viral particles is of great significance in understating viral infection. In this paper, a nanopore is used as a single molecule sensor to characterize the deformation of pseudo-type human immunodeficiency virus type 1 at sub-micron scale. Non-infective immature viruses were found to be more rigid than infective mature viruses. In addition, the effects of cholesterol and membrane proteins on the mechanical properties of mature viruses were investigated by chemically modifying the membranes. Furthermore, the deformability of single virus particles was analyzed through a recapturing technique, where the same virus was analyzed twice. The findings demonstrate the ability of nanopore resistive pulse sensing to characterize the deformation of a single virus as opposed to average ensemble measurements.