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Living or Non-Living?
Infectious particles of nucleic acid and proteins Cannot live (reproduce) outside a host

1st virus discovered-Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)

Viruses The Boundary of Life

At the boundary of life, between the macromolecules (which are not alive) and the prokaryotic cells (which are), lie the viruses and bacteriophages (phages).

Viruses are found everywhere.

Viruses consist of a core of nucleic acid, either DNA or RNA, and a protective coat of protein molecules and sometimes lipids.

Are viruses alive?

Cells and Viruses

Characteristic Structure Cell Cell membrane, cytoplasm; eukaryotes also contain nucleus and organelles Independent cell division either asexually or sexually Virus


Genetic Code
Growth and Development Obtain and Use Energy Response to Environment Change Over Time

Yes; in multicellular organisms, cells increase in number and differentiate yes yes yes

Naming Viruses
International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses names them based on three characteristics: Type of nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) Is the nucleic acid double or single stranded Presence or absence of nuclear envelope

Prokaryotes Vs. Eukaryotes Vs. Viruses

No membrane bound nucleus Has a cell wall Only a few organelles or none at all. Has a capsule surrounding it Three main types. Nucleus with membrane Only plants have cell wall Contains many organelles Has a lipid bilayer membrane surrounding it. Specialized by thousands of different sizes and shapes.

No nucleus No membranes No organelles Cannot reproduce on its own Generally not considered alive by most standards


Adenovirus, a naked virus, with a polyhedral capsid and a fiber at each corner

Influenza virus, surrounded by an envelope with spikes

Virion Structure
Lipid Envelope Nucleic Acid

Protein Capsid Virion Associated Polymerase

Spike Projections

Types and shapes

Rod like with capsid proteins winding around the core in a spiral

Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Has many sides Most polyhedral capsids have 20 sides and 12 corners

Polyhedral capsid attached to a helical tail.

Flu virus

T4 Bacteriophage


A retrovirus injects the enzyme, reverse transcriptase into the cell to copy viral RNA into DNA.


DNA Tail Tail fiber

Bacteriophages Have Multicomponent Particles

The head consists of an icosahedron that has very tightly packed DNA. Nearly 20 proteins are found in the head. An equally complex tail sheath forms a helical component. The head is connected to the tail sheath by a neck that is composed of four to five proteins. An end plate with lysozyme activity and pins at the base of the sheath contain several different proteins. Tail fibers used to recognize receptor proteins on the surface of the bacterial cell consist of numerous additional proteins.
Phage assembly and infection processes require coordination of many genes.

Viral Infection

Viruses and Living Cells

Viruses must infect a living cell in order to grow and reproduce They also take advantage of the hosts respiration, nutrition and all the other functions that occur in living things Therefore, viruses are considered to be parasites

Viral Reproduction
Steps of Lytic Cycle Attachment Entry Replication Assembly Lysis/Release (lyses the cell)

How do viruses replicate?

2 methods of replication: 1. Lytic Cycle the virus enters the cell, replicates itself hundreds of times, and then bursts out of the cell, destroying it. 2. Lysogenic Cycle the virus DNA integrates with the host DNA and the hosts cell helps create more virus DNA. An environmental change may cause the virus to enter the Lytic Cycle.

In the lytic cycle, the virus reproduces itself using the host cell's chemical machinery. The red spiral lines in the drawing indicate the virus's genetic material. The orange portion is the outer shell that protects it.

In the lysogenic cycle, the virus reproduces by first injecting its genetic material, indicated by the red line, into the host cell's genetic instructions.

Viruses Enter Living Cells

Viruses enter bacterial cells by punching a hole in the cells wall and injecting its DNA

Viruses Enter Living Cells

Viruses enter plant cells through tiny rips in the cell wall. Viruses enter animal cells by endocytosis.

Much smaller than viruses Just consist of small sRNA molecule No protein coat Infect plants

Proteinaceous infectious agents Contain only protein, no nucleic acid Linked to number of fatal diseases in humans and animals Obligate intracellular parasite How does it replicate if no nucleic acid? Prion protein converts host protein to prion protein

Cannot be killed by UV light or nucleases, can be killed by proteases and heat Usually cannot be transmitted across species