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Senin, 26 Januari 2009

Virus Replication

Replication


A single virus particle (virion) is in and of itself essentially inert. It lacks needed components that cells have to reproduce. Viruses are intracellular obligate parasites which means that they cannot reproduce or express their genes without the help of a living cell. Once a virus has "infected" a cell, it will "marshal" the cell's ribosomes, enzymes and much of the cellular machinery to reproduce. Unlike what we have seen in mitosis and meiosis, viral reproduction produces many, many progeny, that when complete, leave the host cell to infect other cells in the organism.


Bacteriophage binding to the cell wall of a bacterium.
Copyright Dr. Gary Kaiser. Used with permission.

Bacteriophage injecting its genetic material into the bacterium.

Copyright Dr. Gary Kaiser. Used with permission.

The bacteriophage genome replicates

Copyright Dr. Gary Kaiser. Used with permission.
...

Self-Assembly


Interestingly enough, once the viral progeny components are produced by the cellular machinery, the assembly of the viral genome and the viral capsids is a non-enzymatic process. It is usually spontaneous.
The bacteriophage components and enzymes continue to be produced
Copyright Dr. Gary Kaiser. Used with permission

The components of the bacteriophage assemble.

Copyright Dr. Gary Kaiser. Used with permission

Bacteriophage enzyme breaks down the bacterial cell wall causing the bacterium to split open.
Copyright Dr. Gary Kaiser. Used with permission
Specificity
Ah, the beauties of structure and function! Viruses typically can only infect a limited number of hosts (also known as host range). The "lock and key" mechanism is the most common explanation for this range. Certain proteins on the virus particle must fit certain receptor sites on the particular host's cell surface.

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