The mechanism of DNA ejection, viral assembly and evolution are related to the structure of bacteriophage ΦX174. The F protein forms a T = 1 capsid whose major folding motif is the eight-stranded antiparallelβ barrel found in many other icosahedral viruses. Groups of 5 G proteins form 12 dominating spikes that enclose a hydrophilic channel containing some diffuse electron density. Each G protein is a tight β barrel with its strands running radially outwards and with a topology similar to that of the F protein. The 12 'pilot' H proteins per virion may be partially located in the putative ion channel. The small, basic J protein is associated with the DNA and is situated in an interior cleft of the F protein. Tentatively, there are three regions of partially ordered DNA structure, accounting for about 12% of the total genome.