AIDS virus particle external structure

AIDS virus particle external structure

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This image is part of the feature Science Photo Library - September Monthly Focus


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Caption: AIDS virion surface, artwork. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The outer layer is the translucent membrane envelope taken from the membrane of the host cell that made this virus particle. Membrane proteins (grey lumps) are seen protruding from this surface. Viral knobs (yellow) allow the virus particle to attach to cells. The inner layer is an icosahedral matrix protein shell (blue) that encloses the genetic core (not seen). AIDS impairs the immune system and allows often fatal secondary infections. For an artwork of the inside of an HIV particle, see image M050/887.

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