Morphology and Ultrastructure of the Virus Particles. Plant Viruses in situ in Plant and Vector

  • Kenneth M. Smith


In essence, a plant virus particle consists of a strand of ribonucleic acid (RNA) surrounded by a protein coat, the purpose of which is to afford a protective covering for the nucleic acid. The nomenclature suggested for the particle and its components is as follows: the whole particle is called a ‘virion’, the protein coat is the ‘capsid’ and the individual protein subunits are known as ‘capsomeres’. The structure composed of the nucleic acid surrounded by the capsid is the ‘nucleocapsid’. Essentially, all viruses seem to have their outside surfaces composed of regularly arranged protein units, with their nucleic acid carried internally. The type of pattern in which the protein units are arranged differs with different viruses, as also must the position and orientation of the nucleic acid relative to the protein covering (Bawden, 1964).


Mosaic Virus Virus Particle Tobacco Mosaic Virus Potato Virus Plant Virus 
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Copyright information

© K. M. Smith 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth M. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Virus Research UnitAgricultural Research CouncilCambridgeUK

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