NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour scanning electron micrograph of AIDS viruses (red) budding from the plasma membrane of an infected T4 "helper" lymphocyte. The virus, designated HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), destroys T4 lymphocytes. These are white blood cells which induce other T-cells, or "killer" lymphocytes, to fight invaders. Inside an infected lymphocyte, a single strand of viral RNA is transcribed into DNA & this penetrates the nucleus to subvert the cell's own DNA, which it uses to replicate viral RNA & generate new viruses. These break out of the lymphocyte, destroying it, and proceed to infect other T4 "helper" lymphocytes.
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