STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
HIV infected 293T cell. Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a 293T cell infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, small dots). Small spherical virus particles, visible on the surface, are in the process of budding from the cell membrane. Any vesicles of uneven shape are exosomes, thought to be involved in cell communication, transmission of disease and are being investigated as a means of drug delivery. Because 293T cells have lost their ability to protect themselves from viral infection, something that all cells are normally very good at, 293T are easily transfected, or infected, and can be used to produce large amounts of virus. This makes these cells an extraordinarily valuable tool in medicine and research. Magnification x 1000 at 10cm wide. Specimen courtesy of Greg Towers, UCL.
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