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Lecture 11

Viruses, disease and

Biology, Campbell & Reece. 7th Edn. Ch 18

Dr Mohamed Abumaree
Molecular Reproductive Biologist & Immunologist
College of Medicine
King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Science

How do viruses kill cells?
1.Hydrolytic enzymes released from

2.Toxins produced by infected cells

3.Toxic compounds (such as envelope

proteins) produced by viruses
The extent of damage
 Depends on the ability of infected tissues
to regenerate or not!!!!……for
!!!!…… example
1.People recover from colds because the
infected epithelium of the respiratory tract
can repair itself
2.But, nerve cells damaged by poliovirus is
Many of the temporary symptoms
associated with viral infections, such
as fever,
fever result from the body’s
natural defenses (immune system)
which is the basis for the major
medical tool (vaccines) for
preventing viral infections
 Harmless derivatives of pathogenic

 Stimulate the immune system to mount

defenses against the actual pathogen

 Effective vaccines: available against

hepatitis B & other viral diseases
 Cannot prevent all viral illnesses
 Kill bacteria: inhibit enzyme involved in
the pathogens

 Cannot kill viruses: viruses have few/no


 Drugs fight viruses: block viral nucleic

acid synthesis,
synthesis such as azidothymidine
AZT control HIV reproduction
Emerging Viruses
Viruses that appear suddenly, such as

How viral diseases
(1) Mutation of existing
viruses: a major source
of new diseases
 RNA viruses have a high rate of
 Because they cannot repair errors
during replication process

 Mutations enable existing viruses to

evolve into new genetic strains………..
 That can cause disease in individuals
who had developed immunity to the
ancestral virus
For example, flu epidemics:
Caused by new strains of influenza
virus genetically different from
earlier strains that people have
little immunity to them

(2) The spread of
existing viruses from
one host species to
 About three–quarters of new human
diseases originate in other animals

 For example, people infected with a

flu virus previously seen only in birds
(3) The distribution of a
viral disease from a
small isolated population
can lead to widespread
epidemics (AIDS)
 Thus, emerging viruses are not new
viruses but they are existing viruses
that have:

1. Mutate

2. Spread to new host species

3. Distribute more widely in the current

host species
(4) Changes in host
behavior or environmental
changes can increase the viral
traffic responsible for emerging
Viral Diseases in Plants
 Plant viruses have the same basic
structure and mode of replication as
animal viruses

 Most plant viruses discovered including

tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), have an
RNA genome
 Small and simple molecules that infect plants

 Circular RNA molecules

 Do not encode proteins but can replicate in

plant cells by using cellular enzymes

 Affect plant growth, such as abnormal

development & small growth
1. Infectious proteins
2. Very slow acting agents: incubation time ~10 years
3. Not destroyed or deactivated by heating to normal
cooking temperatures
4. Cause degenerative brain diseases in animals, such
as mad cow disease
5. Can be transmitted in food
6. There is no known cure for prion diseases
How can a protein, which
cannot replicate itself, be a
transmissible pathogen?
1) A prion is a misfolded form of a protein
normally present in brain cells

2) When the prion gets into a cell

containing the normal form of the
protein, the prion converts the normal
protein to the prion version
So prions may repeatedly
trigger chain reactions that
increase their numbers
Rapid reproduction,
mutation and genetic
recombination contribute
to the genetic diversity of
Bacterial Genome Replication
 Bacteria have one double–stranded circular DNA
molecule that is associated with a small amount of
protein the bacterial chromosome, which is tightly
coiled and densely packed

 The dense region of DNA (nucleoid) is not bounded by


 Many bacteria also have plasmids (much smaller circles

of DNA)
 Plasmid has a small number of genes,
genes up to several

 Bacterial cells divide by binary fission,

fission which is
preceded by replication of the bacterial chromosome

 From a single origin of replication, DNA synthesis

progresses in both directions around the circular
chromosome until the entire chromosome is reproduced

 Bacteria can proliferate very rapidly in a favorable

environment (E. coli)
Sources of Genetic Variation
 Binary fission: an asexual process (production of
offspring from a single parent)
 So most of the bacteria are genetically identical to the
parent cell
 However, rare mutation can occurs to cause slight
genetic variation
 Bacteria are fast reproducing organisms

 So the new mutations cause significant genetic diversity

 The genetic diversity affects the development
of bacterial populations (reproduction) unlike the
slowly reproducing organisms (humans)

 Most of the heritable variation in humans is

not due to the mutations, but because of
recombination of existing ones during sexual

 Genetic diversity in bacteria also arises from

genetic recombination, the combining of DNA
from two sources