JOUBERT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOUBERT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
AVIAN INFLUENZA VIRUS Avian influenza virus. The H5N1 virus, responsible for the avian influenza flu, is a RNA virus of the Orthomyxoviridiae family, Influenzavirus genus and type A (Influenzavirus A). Its capsid encloses 8 strands of monocatenary RNA ; its envelope contains various glycoproteins of which neuraminidase (green balls) and hemagglutinin (red points), and ion channels M2 (in grey). The H5N1 virus draws its name from two proteins that it carries to its surface, hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N), allowing it respectively to fix to the cell to be infected and then spread. Among the viruses Influenzavirus A, the structure of those two antigens is very variable (at least 15 types of hemagglutinin and 9 of neuraminidase), which enables to characterize them. So, the signature of avian influenza virus (H5N1) is the presence of hemagglutinin type 5 associated to the one of neuraminidase type 1.
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