False-colour transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of the retrovirus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS. The spherical virus is seen budding off from a T-lymphocyte, the host white blood cell type in AIDS. The virus was sectioned to show the outer lipid envelope (the dark double membrane surrounding the sphere) & the central, dense nucleoid, which contains viral RNA. Viral replication occurs inside the infected T- cell. New virus particles initially appear as bumps in the host cell membrane which enlarge & finally become detached. Magnification: x3,500 at 35mm size. Gold tinted version.
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