Virus crystallography and structural virology: a personal perspective
My first experiences with crystallography were as a graduate student at the University of Glasgow determining the structure of aromatic hydrocarbons using only primitive hand calculation techniques. I had my first experience using electronic computers as a post-doc in the lab of William Lipscomb in Minnesota. That gave me a good preparation for the structure determination of haemoglobin with Max Perutz in Cambridge. The discovery of the conserved globin fold had a major impact on my subsequent activities. It also provided the foundation for the development of the molecular replacement method and non-crystallographic symmetry electron density averaging that was essential for the structure determination of simple icosahedral viruses. The structure determination of a common cold virus was also a major stimulus for the study of more complex viruses and the development of the use of cryo-electron microscopy. This provided the basis for the investigation of lipid-enveloped viruses such as Sindbis virus and deng...