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Fri Jan 11, 2013, 12:00 PM

Virus Caught in the Act of Infecting a Cell

http://www.utexas.edu/news/2013/01/11/virus-caught-in-the-act-of-infecting-a-cell/

Virus Caught in the Act of Infecting a Cell
Jan. 11, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas The detailed changes in the structure of a virus as it infects an E. coli bacterium have been observed for the first time, report researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health) Medical School this week in Science Express.

To infect a cell, a virus must be able to first find a suitable cell and then eject its genetic material into its host. This robot-like process has been observed in a virus called T7 and visualized by Ian Molineux, professor of biology in the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, and his colleagues.

The researchers show that when searching for its prey, the virus briefly extends like feelers one or two of six ultra-thin fibers it normally keeps folded at the base of its head.

Once a suitable host has been located, the virus behaves a bit like a planetary rover, extending these fibers to walk randomly across the surface of the cell and find an optimal site for infection...


Animation showing the changes in the structure of a T7 virus as it infects an E. coli bacterium.

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Reply Virus Caught in the Act of Infecting a Cell (Original post)
jsr Jan 2013 OP
1StrongBlackMan Jan 2013 #1
Tuesday Afternoon Jan 2013 #2
KT2000 Jan 2013 #3
Warpy Jan 2013 #4

Response to jsr (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 12:31 PM

1. Wow ...

that's kind of creepy.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 12:35 PM

2. awesome

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 01:17 PM

3. Impressive!

Have tried to visualize what occurs while battling colds and flu. Now I know.
Thanks for posting.

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 05:02 PM

4. What happens when you notice you've got a cold or flu

is that your immune system has noticed the viral invasion and has joined the battle. You were infected and contagious for a couple of days before you had any idea what was going on.

By the time you notice it, the virus has been recognized and your immune system is going into overdrive, producing antibodies and sending out killer cells to destroy infected cells and mop up the debris. That's where the fever and aching also come in along with the vast quantities of mucus, the higher temperature being inhospitable to viral reproduction inside the infected cells.

Bottom line: all the misery is being caused by your immune system, not the infection it's trying to get rid of before it kills you. You didn't even notice the infection until your immune system did.

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