DR KLAUS BOLLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KLAUS BOLLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
HIV particles. Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of human immunodeficiency virus particles (HIV, brown and orange) that have emerged from a white blood cell (green). Seen here are an immature particle (left) and a mature particle (right). During maturation the viral protease cleaves (cuts) the gag and gag-pol precursor proteins to form the proper HIV protein products. The newly-produced HIV virus particle is then free to go on and infect other white blood cells. Infection severely weakens the immune system, causing AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). The disease makes the patient susceptible to diseases that would otherwise be harmless.
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