HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection. Computer artwork of HIV particles (purple) binding to a dendritic cell (blue), whose dendrites (extensions) are interacting with a lymphocyte cell (lower right). HIV particles consist of an RNA (ribonucleic acid) core, surrounded by an icosahedral (20-sided) protein nucleocapsid (coat). The whole virus is enclosed in an envelope containing specific proteins. These are compatible with receptor proteins on the surface of the host cell and bind to them, enabling the virus to infect the cell and reproduce.
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