<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

In general, the shapes of viruses are classified into four groups: filamentous, isometric (or icosahedral), enveloped, and head and tail. Filamentous viruses are long and cylindrical. Many plant viruses are filamentous, including TMV. Isometric viruses have shapes that are roughly spherical, such as poliovirus or herpesviruses. Enveloped viruses have membranes surrounding capsids. Animal viruses, such as HIV, are frequently enveloped. Head and tail viruses infect bacteria and have a head that is similar to icosahedral viruses and a tail shape like filamentous viruses.

Many viruses use some sort of glycoprotein to attach to their host cells via molecules on the cell called viral receptors ( [link] ). For these viruses, attachment is a requirement for later penetration of the cell membrane, so they can complete their replication inside the cell. The receptors that viruses use are molecules that are normally found on cell surfaces and have their own physiological functions. Viruses have simply evolved to make use of these molecules for their own replication. For example, HIV uses the CD4 molecule on T lymphocytes as one of its receptors. CD4 is a type of molecule called a cell adhesion molecule, which functions to keep different types of immune cells in close proximity to each other during the generation of a T lymphocyte immune response.

 In the illustration a viral receptor on the surface of a KSHV virus is attached to an xCT receptor embedded in the plasma membrane.
The KSHV virus binds the xCT receptor on the surface of human cells. xCT receptors protect cells against stress. Stressed cells express more xCT receptors than non-stressed cells. The KSHV virion causes cells to become stressed, thereby increasing expression of the receptor to which it binds. (credit: modification of work by NIAID, NIH)

Among the most complex virions known, the T4 bacteriophage, which infects the Escherichia coli bacterium, has a tail structure that the virus uses to attach to host cells and a head structure that houses its DNA.

Adenovirus, a non-enveloped animal virus that causes respiratory illnesses in humans, uses glycoprotein spikes protruding from its capsomeres to attach to host cells. Non-enveloped viruses also include those that cause polio (poliovirus), plantar warts (papillomavirus), and hepatitis A (hepatitis A virus).

Enveloped virions like HIV, the causative agent in AIDS, consist of nucleic acid (RNA in the case of HIV) and capsid proteins surrounded by a phospholipid bilayer envelope and its associated proteins. Glycoproteins embedded in the viral envelope are used to attach to host cells. Other envelope proteins are the matrix proteins that stabilize the envelope and often play a role in the assembly of progeny virions. Chicken pox, influenza, and mumps are examples of diseases caused by viruses with envelopes. Because of the fragility of the envelope, non-enveloped viruses are more resistant to changes in temperature, pH, and some disinfectants than enveloped viruses.

Overall, the shape of the virion and the presence or absence of an envelope tell us little about what disease the virus may cause or what species it might infect, but they are still useful means to begin viral classification ( [link] ).

Questions & Answers

what is typhoid
ABIGAIL Reply
study of life
Joe
🙄
Abhulimen
wrong
Abhulimen
ωнere αre тнe dιαgrαмѕ?
Ayen Reply
English please
INGIPHILE
what are chromosomes
Passmore Reply
what are gene
Omega
biology is this study of life
MUSTAPHA Reply
what if cranium break
Alimamy Reply
it will cause a concussion and may affect the brain
INGIPHILE
how will it affect the brain?
Gaone
it may cause mechanical shock which might lead to a formation of a tumor and seizures
INGIPHILE
what are prokaryotes
Jacob Reply
Prokaryotes are cells with well defined nucleus or cells with membranes example; Bacteria,Nostoc etc.
Emmanuel
what is bilateral symmetry
Mameibi Reply
Explain kingdom of fungi
HARUNA Reply
what are the nutritional requirement of organism
Patience Reply
which part of the alimentary canal were these cross section taken
Getrude Reply
what is alimentary canal were these cross section taken
Getrude
what is matter
Gifty Reply
matter is any substance that occupies space and has mass (weight)
Kanema
from which part of the alimentary canal were these cross section taken fig 2.1 fig 2.2 b,c
Getrude Reply
explain the role played by b in the alimentary canal
Getrude
what is biology
Sunday Reply
biology is the study of living things (organism)
Kanema
is the study of living organisms
Passmore
it is the sturdy of life
Christone
it is the study of life
INGIPHILE
what is mitosis
David Reply
structure of a kidney
Idriss Reply

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store Now




Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Biology' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask