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Viruses

Viruses

Viruses consist of protein and DNA or RNA, they reprogram infected cells to produce more viruses.

Biology

Keywords

virus, infection, droplet infection, disease, tobacco mosaic, bacteriophage, HIV, influenza, AIDS, phage, capsid, genetic material, DNA viruses, RNA viruses, DNA, RNA, lipid membrane, host cell, helical, icosahedral, binal, virology, biology

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Scenes

HIV

  • lipid membrane - It is derived from the host cell membrane: when the virus leaves the cell it gets wrapped in a piece of the cell membrane.
  • surface protein - They serve to identify host cells and bind the virus to them.
  • external protein envelope - The genetic material of the virus encodes the protein of the two protein envelopes.
  • capsid
  • genetic material - HIV is a retrovirus, its genetic material is RNA, of which a DNA copy is made inside the host cell. This encodes the virus´ proteins.

Tobacco mosaic virus

  • capsid (protein shell)
  • genetic material - RNA. In viruses the genetic material can be DNA or RNA.

Bacteriophage

  • head - Part of the capsid (protein shell). Its shape is an elongated icosahedron with 20 faces.
  • tail - A tubular structure through which the genetic material is injected into the host cell.
  • tail fibres - Their function is to attach the virus to the host cell.
  • genetic material - In the best known bacteriophages (T4 and ΦX174) it is DNA, while in other phages it can also be RNA.

Influenza

  • lipid membrane - It is derived from the host cell membrane: when the virus leaves the cell it gets wrapped in a piece of the cell membrane.
  • surface protein - They serve to identify host cells and bind the virus to them.
  • capsid (protein shell) - The genetic material of the virus encodes the protein of the protein envelope.
  • genetic material - In the influenza virus it is RNA, in other viruses it can also be DNA.

Animation

Narration

During a viral infection viruses inject their genetic material DNA or RNA into a host cell. In doing so, they reprogram the metabolism of the host cell so that it produces viruses from its own cell material. Viruses can only reproduce in the host cell, they do not have metabolisms, therefore they are not living creatures.

Bacteriophages infect bacteria. After attaching to it, the virus injects its genetic material into the bacterium which starts producing viruses. When released from the dead bacterium, the viruses start infecting other cells.

The protein shell of the influenza virus contains RNA, and this protein shell is surrounded by a lipid membrane, which derives from the cell membrane of the host cell. Influenza viruses spread in tiny droplets caused by coughing and sneezing. When reaching the airways they inject their RNA into cells. The host cells then produce viruses, which infect further cells. The infection is usually harmless, but in certain cases it can lead to life-threatening complications. The Spanish Flu epidemic, which killed tens of millions of people around the world after the First World War, was caused by the H1N1 subtype of the Influenza A virus.
Vaccination is an effective method of preventing influenza; due to the high mutation rate of the virus it is recommended that vaccinations be repeated every year.

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Carrier of genetic information in cells.

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A polynucleotid made up of phosphoric acid, ribose, and nucleobases (cytosine, uracil, adenine and guanine).

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Polypeptide chains are composed of amino acids and can appear in alpha-helix or beta-sheet form.

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The structure and arrangement of polypeptide chains affects the spatial structure of proteins.

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