Capsid proteins that adopt distinct conformations constitute a paradigm of the structural polymorphism of macromolecular assemblies. We show the molecular basis of the flexibility mechanism of VP2, the capsid protein of the double-stranded RNA virus infectious bursal disease virus. The initial assembly, a procapsid-like structure, is built by the protein precursor pVP2 and requires VP3, the other infectious bursal disease virus major structural protein, which acts as a scaffold. The pVP2 C-terminal region, which is proteolyzed during virus maturation, contains an amphipathic alpha-helix that acts as a molecular switch. In the absence of VP3, efficient virus-like particle assembly occurs when the structural unit is a VP2-based chimeric protein with an N-terminal-fused His(6) tag. The His tag has a positively charged N terminus and a negatively charged C terminus, both important for virion-like structure assembly. The charge distributions of the VP3 C terminus and His tag are similar. We tested whether the His tag emulates the role of VP3 and found that the presence of a VP3 C-terminal peptide in VP2-based chimeric proteins resulted in the assembly of virus-like particles. We analyzed the electrostatic interactions between these two charged morphogenetic peptides, in which a single residue was mutated to impede the predicted interaction, followed by a compensatory double mutation to rescue electrostatic interactions. The effects of these mutations were monitored by following the virus-like and/or virus-related assemblies. Our results suggest that the basic face of the pVP2 amphipathic alpha-helix interacts with the acidic region of the VP3 C terminus and that this interaction is essential for VP2 acquisition of competent conformations for capsid assembly.