Influenza virus and bacterium, illustration

Influenza virus and bacterium, illustration

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Credit: GUNILLA ELAM/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Illustration of an influenza virus and a bacterium. The core of the virus is its genetic material, strands of single-stranded RNA (ribonucleic acid). Surrounding these is a capsid protein coat lipid envelope. Embedded in the envelope are two types of surface protein: haemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). These determine the strain of virus and are used for recognising and binding to the host cell. Bacteria are single-celled prokaryotic organisms. The bacterial cell contains DNA, the genetic material, and ribosomes, the site of protein synthesis. It is surrounded by a plasma membrane, cell wall and capsule. Within the capsule are pili, which are used to adhere to surfaces, and flagella, which are used for locomotion.

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