NIBSC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NIBSC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
HIV infected white blood cell. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the abnormal surface of a white blood cell infected with HIV virus that causes AIDS. Gag gene expression for cell surface proteins is abnormal. The HIV virus' genetic material controls the cell, forcing it to express abnormal structural proteins. Normally these surface Gag proteins are tiny spheres, but here the cell's outer surface is formed from large irregular rods. HIV causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). AIDS destroys white blood cells, leading to a weakened immune system. To compare with an uninfected cell surface see image P248/212. Magnification x3,400 at 6x7cm size.
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