HIV structure Print
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Saturday, 14 March 2009 20:30

A virus is not a cell, but is made up of genetic instructions contained in a protective shell. A single HIV virus particle is called a virion. It is spherical and one 10,000th of a millimeter in diameter. The protective shell of the virus is known as the viral envelope. It is composed of two layers of fatty molecules. Embedded in the envelope surface is complex HIV protein called the env protein that sticks out of the envelope surface. Env consists of a cap called gp120 and a stem called gp41. The viral core is called the capsid.

Major elements within the viral core are:

Two single strands of HIV RNA. RNA carries genetic instructions that allow the HIV virus to replicate itself.
Three enzymes that are needed for replication of the virus.


Last Updated on Saturday, 14 March 2009 20:49