Basic illustration showing a T-lymphocyte infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the causative agent of AIDS (at left), about to fuse with a non-infected T-cell. The AIDS virus particle is spherical, about 100 nanometres in diameter & covered by a membrane (white), made up of two layers of lipid (fatty material) derived from the outer membrane of the host cell. Studding the membrane are glycoproteins, each divided into 2 components: gp41 (blue) spans the membrane and gp120 (brown) extends beyond it. Inside is a core (red) containing viral RNA (yellow). The initial stage of infection involves the binding of gp120 with a CD4 receptor (green) on the T-cell.
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