Enveloped Viruses as Models for Membrane Assembly
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Viruses are small, highly organized nucleoprotein particles that require entry into and exit from a cell in order to propagate. Almost every kind of organism in the biosphere- from the bacteria to man- are infectable by viruses that are often lethal to their host. Virus particles are also highly diverse in structure and composition: their genomes may be either DNA or RNA which can range in size from as little as 2,000 to over 300,000 nucleotides and this nucleic acid can be packaged in particles that include relative simple, highly symmetrical icosahedral structures as well as large, complex pleomorphic shapes. Many virus nucleo-proteins are surrounded by a lipid bilayer which they acquire from their host cell. These viruses are called “enveloped” and they include a number of important human pathogens such as influenza virus and the AIDS virus, HIV. The virus envelope serves to both protect the genome and to facilitate entrance and exit of the virus during its replication in the eukaryotic cell.
KeywordsLipid Bilayer Virus Glycoprotein Semliki Forest Virus Sindbis Virus Virus Nucleocapsid
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