False-colour transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of HIV-1, the AIDS virus, budding from the surface of an infected T-lymphocyte. The emergence of a single virus particle (virion) is seen here. HIV binds to receptors of the T-cell's membrane & injects its genetic material (as RNA) into the cytoplasm. The host cell's DNA is subverted in the process of replication: viral progeny bud from the T-cell, which is damaged & eventually dies. Decline in T-cell count severely compromises the immune system, exposing the host to a range of opportunistic infections. Magnification: x55,000 at 6x7cm size.
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