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SEE ALL INFLUENZA VIRUS IMAGES HERE

FLU virus structure: translucent 3D computer model

FLU VIRUS MODEL # 1 (on green cell-like background). Translucent model of Influenza virus showing major features of virion. This web image measures 500 pixels across, original image is 4,000 x 5,382 pixels. See all RKM flu images





Influenza A viruses: are covered by a characteristic array of spikes that project radially from the viral envelope. Beneath the envelope lies the matrix (M1 protein) which covers the viral genetic material (RNA).

Spikes: there are two kinds of spike: Haemagglutinin (Hemagglutinin) usually abbreviated as HA (shown in red in the top image) and Neuraminidase usually abbreviated as NA (shown in yellow in the top image). There are several varieties of HA and NA designated by numbers e.g. the current bird flu is H5N1.

M2: this is a small protein that is embedded in the viral envelope. Four molecules associate together to create a channel through the envelope that allows protons to pass through (the M2 tetramer is shown in blue in the top image). There are only a few such pores in each virus particle. The M2 proton channel is important during replication when it allows protons to enter the virion where the acidification is thought to loosen the matrix from the underlying RNP.

Envelope: the viral envelope is derived from the host cell plasma membrane when the virus buds from the cell. In the upper images it is shown as a grey translucent layer.

RNP - ribonucleoprotein: consists of the genetic information of the virus wrapped up in protein. This combination of gentic material and protein is called the nucleocapsid. The genetic information is stored as single stranded -ve sense RNA. The full complement of genetic information is called the genome and in influenza A the genome is divided into eight segments. These segments are assumed to link together (possibly in an ordered fashion) when the virus assembles at the cell surface. Because the genome of influenza is segmented there can be a mixing of genes when two or more types of influenza infect the same cell and segments from several sources become jumbled together in the progeny virus. Such novel strains could lead to PANDEMIC INFLUENZA one of the greatest threats we currently face.


FLU virus structure: translucent 3D computer model

FLU model # 2 (on white). Above: translucent model of Influenza virus showing major features of virion. Image measures 500 pixels across, original image is 2,000 x 2,000 pixels.


FLU virus structure: translucent 3D computer model

FLU model # 3 (green on white). Above: translucent model of Influenza virus showing major features of virion. Image measures 500 pixels across, original image is 2,000 x 2,000 pixels. This is the same as the top image but hue shifted by 32% which makes the spikes look more homogenous and more clearly emphasis the M2 protein proton channels (bright purple structures at top). The genome (RNP, strictly speaking) appears dark purple.


FLU virus structure: solid 3D computer model (green on white)

FLU model # 4 (green on white). Above: solid model of Influenza virus showing external features of virion. Image measures 500 pixels across, original image is 2,000 x 2,000 pixels.


FLU virus structure: translucent 3D computer model

FLU model # 5 (blue on black). solid model of Influenza virus showing external features of virion. Image measures 500 pixels across, original image is 3,000 x 3,000 pixels.


FLU virus structure: translucent 3D computer model

FLU model # 6 (green & blue on black). Above: translucent model of Influenza virus showing major features of virion. Image measures 500 pixels across, original image is 2,000 x 2,000 pixels.




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