LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Murine minute virus capsid, molecular model. This parvovirus infects mice, its only known natural host. It is highly infectious, transmitted through the nose and mouth, with infection usually lasting a few weeks. In viruses, the capsid is the protein shell that encloses the genetic material. A capsid consists of subunits called capsomeres that self-assemble to form the shell seen here. Here, this shell, approximately spherical in shape, has icosahedral symmetry. One of the functions of the capsid is to aid the transmission of the viral genetic material into host cells. The cell mechanisms are then used to produce new virus particles.
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