LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus capsid, molecular model. This mosquito-borne virus can kill horses and other equine species, causing brain and spinal cord inflammation. It can also cause a fatal fever in humans. 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.
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