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Overview         (For age - group : Above 16 )

The most in-depth interactive & animated coverage of virus ever, covers- what are viruses?, their structure, genome, capsid, envelope, characteristic features, pathogenic nature, difference between viruses and cellular pathogens, viroids and prions, classification, where are viruses found?, their discovery, studying viral structure, significance of viruses.

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Duration (hr:min:sec) 2:0:0
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Watch a free preview of this science  and technology animation

This animation has audio.This animation contains sound
Category : Microbiology - virology
Type : Animation
Animation Type : Advanced
Total animation length: 2 Hours or more

The animation covers:

  • What are viruses?
  • Structure of virus
  • Viral genome or Nucleic acid
  • Protein coat or capsid
  • Envelope
  • Characteristic features of viruses
  • Pathogenic nature of viruses
  • Difference between viruses and cellular pathogens
  • Viroids and Prions
  • Classification of viruses
  • Where are viruses found?
  • Discovery of viruses
  • How is virus structure studied?
  • Significance of viruses

Click on link below each image to view a bigger one or see preview
Virus - envelope - capsid - nucleic acid
Characteristic features of virus
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Virus envelope, capsid and nucleic acid are separate animated sections. Capsid animation is a unique one, it shows the assembly of capsid from proteins. Characteristics features of virus - Explains both living and non-living characteristics of a virus.
Classification of virus
RNA virus genome
Classification of virus - on the basis of : nature of viral genome, structure of genome,
capsid symmetry, envelope, replication.
Viral genome or Nucleic acid - Covers DNA, RNA, wider range of genomic variety.
Types of virus -Tobacco mosaic virus, adenovirus, poliovirus, bacteriophage, ebola, small pox virus
Viral structure - nucleic acid
Bigger Image Bigger Image
Types of viruses : Description of tobacco mosaic virus, adenovirus, poliovirus, bacteriophage, ebola, small pox virus
Viral structure - nucleic acid - click to see the content of animation or look at preview to know more
Details of the animation/ movie /software

This 2-hour animation is an in-depth and comprehensive approach towards virus. Virology itself is a big topic- this is the part 1 of the triology, the other two parts Virus- lifecycle ( Replication ) and Viral - immunity are presently under development and will be released shortly.

Short Description:
What are viruses?
Viruses are microscopic entities capable of infecting virtually all life forms. Can be viewed only through electron microscope. Their size ranges from 20nm -300nm.

Structure of virus:
A virus's body contains
-Nucleic acid packed in protein coat capsid.
-Capsid may be surrounded by a bilipid envelope.

Viral genome or Nucleic acid
The genome of a virus
-DNA or RNA.
-Wider range of variety in their genomes

Protein coat or capsid
Capsid- made up of proteins.
Smallest subunit - a protein molecule or polypeptide chain.
Assembly- protomer - one or more proteins.
Morphological or symmetrical unit - Capsomer - one or more protomers.
Capsid and genome together - Nucleocapsid
Capsid symmetry-shape of virus-Icosahedral symmetry (Adeno, Retro)
- helical symmetry (influenza, Rhabdo)
- Complex symmetry (bacteriophage T4, Pox virus)

Envelope - not all viruses have envelope
Enveloped virus - appear mostly spherical (HIV), bullet shaped (Rhabdovirus) or brick shaped( pox virus)
Non enveloped virus - adenovirus, Tobacco mosaic virus
Envelope made up of
Lipids derived from host cells with
Viral proteins -
-- Surface glycoproteins that appear as spikes
--Transmembrane proteins
--Embedded in the lipid layer.

Characteristic features of viruses - Virus possesses both living and non-living characteristics.
- Acellular organisms
- Do not grow or divide
- No metabolic activities
- Inert, inactive in the environment
- Obligate intracellular parasites i.e. replicate or reproduce only within a living cell.

Pathogenic nature of viruses:
All viruses are pathogens to some or the other living organism.
- Viruses are as good as a dust particle in the environment
- But all viruses bounce into action when come in contact with a specific living cell, take over the cellular machinery and directs the cell to produce virus progeny leading to cell lysis or malfunctioning of the cell, thus causing disease in infected organisms. A few viruses stimulate cells to grow uncontrollably and produce cancers.

Difference between viruses and cellular pathogens: Comparing microrganisms like bacteria, fungi, protozoans, helminths and viruses

Viroids and Prions:
Not viruses, but virus like particles: Viroids are ultramicroscopic, single-stranded molecules of RNA without any protein coat. They infect plants.
Prions are proteinaceous infectious particles, cause degenerative diseases in animals
-e.g., scrapie in sheep
-bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle
-Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans

Classification of viruses: Viruses are classified on the basis of their following properties:
-Nature of viral genome: RNA or DNA
-Structure of genome : double or single stranded, linear or circular
-Capsid symmetry: icosahedral, helical or complex
-Presence or absence of envelope
-Replication strategies

Where are viruses found?
-Evolved to infect all organisms from humans to bacteria.
-Highly host specific.
Grouped into the following:
--Plant viruses
--Animal viruses

Discovery of viruses:
- Platform to the discovery of viruses:
In 1880 Mayer identified an infectious agent in tobacco leaves that could transmit the infections into a healthy new plant.
In 1892 a Russian scientist Dimitri Ivanofsky discovered that the infectious agent of tobacco leaves was filterable claiming that agents are smaller than bacteria.
1898, Beijerinck referred to this new disease agent as a contagious living liquid-contagium vivum fluid.
In 1935 Wendell Stanley crystallized tobacco mosaic virus to demonstrate that viruses had regular shapes, and in 1939 tobacco mosaic virus was first visualized using the electron microscope.

How is virus structure studied?
Tools applied in studying the structure of virus include:
Electron microscopy
X-ray crystallography
Atomic force microscopy

Significance of viruses:
Viruses are simple biological entities and are therefore important to the study of molecular and cellular biology.
- Study of viruses helped our understanding of the basic mechanisms of molecular genetics.
- Viruses are used as a tool to cure bacterial infections and are now used in curing genetic disorders.
- Used in producing vaccines against viral diseases.

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