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Influenza Virus Essay

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Influenza Virus This essay will cover the following topics. What is a virus? The outlining of the Influenza virus The components on the structure of the influenza virus 2 the specific proteins Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase The structure and function of Hemagglutinin The structure and function of Neuraminidase In 1918 the worst worldwide epidemic and pandemic killed 20 million people hours after the first traces of the symptoms of a virus were discovered. The disaster of this epidemic and pandemic was in the mainlands of Spain, followed by Asia in 1957, Hong Kong in 1968 and Russia in 1977. This Virus was later named 'the influenza virus'. The virus titled - influenza is so commonly used that there is any knowledge lacking what a virus actually is. A virus is a major class microorganism. It is smaller than cells approximately 10 nanometers (nm) in diameter. Viruses are static and unable to change their shape or form singularly. They have no metabolic capabilities independently due to a lack of ribosomes for protein synthesis. Viruses only change or replace their parts as a result of the infection of a cell, contain a singular form of nucleic acid (RNA and DNA) ...read more.


Similarly an H5N1 virus has an HA 5 protein and an NA 1 protein. Hemagglutinin is a primary protein responsible for binding to receptor sites on the cell membrane resulting in virion entrance within the cell It is so named because it causes agglutination which is a clumping of red blood cells. The red blood cell isn't a primary host cell that the virus normally infects but has sialic acid on the membrane as the mucous membrane cells of the respiratory tract. This makes it a convenient cell type for assaying agglutination activity. Hemagglutinin is an integral membrane glycoprotein, shaped like a cylinder and is approximately 13.5 nm in length. It has three identical monomers that are constructed into a helix coil, consists of three heads (monomers) that contain the sialic acid binding sites. These monomers are later synthesized as precursors then broken down (glycosylated) into smaller polypeptides known as (HA1) and (HA 2) subunits. Each unit consists of a long helical chain anchored in the membrane by (HA2) and topped by a large (HA1) globule. Hemagglutinin binds to the monosaccharide sialic acid which is present on the target cell surface. ...read more.


Neuraminidase enzymes are found in a range of organisms. The most common neuraminidase is known as viral neuraminidase. Viral neuraminidase is used as an antigenic determinant found on the surface of the influenza virus. Its duty is to defend the virus by catalysing the hydrolysis of terminal sialic acid and residues from newly formed virions and from also host cell receptors that would otherwise block virus assembly process or virus particle incorporation. Neuraminidase also assists in the mobility of virus particles through the respiratory tract mucus bronchioles It has been discovered that Neuraminidase is the enzyme that targets the sialic acid on the Hemagglutinin. Scientists are therefore trying to embrace the same methods through the production of drugs. However, the development of these new drugs become resistant to bacteria and viruses. The alteration of hemagglutinin is also under research in order to reduce the affinity or sialic acid thereby obviating the intervention of neuraminidase. The invention of these new mutants has shown very little to no signs of drug resistance. This results in the impaired binding between hemagglutinin and sialic acid reducing the infectivity of the strains by weakening their ability to dock with cells. Bibiography: Class Handout - W.Graeme Laver et al. Disarming Flu Viruses BrockBiology of Microorganisms 12th ed pg- 563-564, 979 ?? ?? ?? ?? Timothy Blackwood 09.09.09 ...read more.

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