Rhinovirus capsid, molecular model

Rhinovirus capsid, molecular model

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Credit: LAGUNA DESIGN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Rhinovirus capsid, molecular model. This is human rhinovirus. The rhinovirus infects the upper respiratory tract and is the cause of the common cold. It is spread by coughs and sneezes. In viruses, the capsid is the protein shell that encloses the genetic material. A capsid's subunits are capsomeres that self-assemble to form the shell seen here. Here, this shell, approximately spherical in shape, has icosahedral symmetry. One of the functions of the capsid is to aid the transmission of the viral genetic material into host cells. The cell mechanisms are then used to produce new virus particles.

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