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AIDS virus life cycle, artwork. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This is a retrovirus that converts its RNA (ribonucleic acid) into DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) in the cell. An incoming virus particle (upper centre) releases its protein core (blue) through the cell membrane. The capsule (pink, centre right) carries RNA (yellow) that is converted to DNA (red) by an enzyme (green). The viral DNA enters the nucleus (brown, lower right) and is used to make new RNA that directs ribosomes (orange, lower centre) to make new viral proteins. These make new virus particles (upper left). AIDS allows often fatal secondary infections.
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