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Thread: Influenza: A Laymans Explanation, Please!

  1. #1 Influenza: A Laymans Explanation, Please! 
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    Hello,
    I'm looking at the behavior of the influenza virus; specifically, how it manages to enter cells, what exactly it does once inside, how it kills the cell upon exiting, and whether or not these new cells join or work together somehow once outside the ell. This information is for an art project, so I'm basically looking for the laymans way of describing this process, nothing too complicated.

    I'd love it if one or some of you could read my interpretation below and let me know what you think. I've basically been studying a diagram and that's where I'm getting all of my information (I don't have time to do very serious research on this subject, sadly, even though I'm fascinated by it).

    Here's my take:

    The Hemagglutination Assay: the hemagglutinin on the virus somehow binds with the salic acid of the cell, and eventually this allows the virus to penetrate the surface of the cell. Would you describe this as a violent penetration or something of a trojan horse effect (ie. the hemagglutinin somehow "tricks" the cell into giving it entry)?

    Viral RNA: Once inside the cell, the virus releases it's rna, which somehow gains entry to the nucleus of the cell, where it makes copies of itself. Upon leaving the nucleus, the RNA collects ribosomes and viral proteins and, upon leaving the cell, reforms it's self as virus units.

    New Virus units: The new virus units that have left the cell then go about joining by stealing the salic acid of the cell recently exited cell, which in turn kills the cell? Also, what exactly does this joining of new virus units accomplish? Does it make them more difficult for the immune system to battle off? Are they indeed joining or am I mis-reading this diagram?

    ANY feedback or general ideas about this would be extremely appreciated!

    Thanks kindly!


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  3. #2 Re: Influenza: A Laymans Explanation, Please! 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guvna
    Hello,
    I'm looking at the behavior of the influenza virus; specifically, how it manages to enter cells, what exactly it does once inside, how it kills the cell upon exiting, and whether or not these new cells join or work together somehow once outside the ell. This information is for an art project, so I'm basically looking for the laymans way of describing this process, nothing too complicated.

    I'd love it if one or some of you could read my interpretation below and let me know what you think. I've basically been studying a diagram and that's where I'm getting all of my information (I don't have time to do very serious research on this subject, sadly, even though I'm fascinated by it).

    Here's my take:

    The Hemagglutination Assay: the hemagglutinin on the virus somehow binds with the salic acid of the cell, and eventually this allows the virus to penetrate the surface of the cell. Would you describe this as a violent penetration or something of a trojan horse effect (ie. the hemagglutinin somehow "tricks" the cell into giving it entry)?
    Neither really. The structure, shape, and chemic properties of the HA viral assembly is compatible with some of the proteins (the glycoproteins) in the cell membrane present generally for transport gateways or doors. Like an intruder who is able to pry the door open, the virus uses its HA to create a zipper like structure and then enters the cell leaving much of its HA "overcoat" behind and now part of the cell membrane. This process is known as fusion by formation of an Endocytotic Vesicle.

    Viral RNA: Once inside the cell, the virus releases it's rna, which somehow gains entry to the nucleus of the cell, where it makes copies of itself. Upon leaving the nucleus, the RNA collects ribosomes and viral proteins and, upon leaving the cell, reforms it's self as virus units.
    More like the viral RNA is compatible with both the cells interior transport systems, replication components, protein fabrication and assembly and control sequences. THe cell components unwrap the viral RNA like a host offering to take the intruder's jacket. Then the host and staff show the RNA around, escort it really. Since the intruder is RNA the cell "staff" presumes this RNA is here for business and gets down to the business of RNA. Thus the cell accidentally makes new versions of the viral RNA and the protein assemblies that protect the RNA and allow it passage into the cell. So the virus does not replicate itself. Also the virus reforms or puts its jacket and overcoat on before going out into the storm though this process is part of the exit process as well. You didn't describe this assembly process so I will not either.

    The virus continues to replicate, overcrowding the hosts home until the house bursts at its seams from too many rowdy guests. A process known as Lysis. Flu, like other enveloped viruses, bud from the cell as you imply below. Taking with them some of the "raft" or "shoot" used when leaving. This raft might be considered a lubricant or cloak made up of the cell lipid structure used to "smooth" the exit

    New Virus units: The new virus units that have left the cell then go about joining by stealing the salic acid of the cell recently exited cell, which in turn kills the cell? Also, what exactly does this joining of new virus units accomplish? Does it make them more difficult for the immune system to battle off? Are they indeed joining or am I mis-reading this diagram?

    ANY feedback or general ideas about this would be extremely appreciated!

    Thanks kindly!
    As described above, the cell is killed when it ruptures as the party gets too wild. The lipid components likely are simply stuck to the virus. Like getting slimed, you just can't get it all off. I don't know if it has any remaining "cloaking" value against the active immune system. I don't know if the viruses "work together".

    Good luck.


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  4. #3  
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    Cypress' explanation is a good general explanation of viral replication. Influenza is a bit different from most RNA viruses. Their RNA is negative sense, thus it can't act as mRNA. It is also wrapped in a viral protein called, quite originally, nuclear protein. NP contains a nuclear localization sequence that allows it to hijack the cellular mechanism of transport into the nucleus. Once in the nucleus, two viral proteins called PB1 and PB2 steal the 5 prime cap off of the cellular RNA in the nucleus and use that as a primer for the viral genome, the viral mRNA is then produced from the viral genome by using cellular mRNA as a primer. This is all done by viral proteins, since humans do not replicate negative sense RNA, and thus have no proteins that would do this. The viral genome is then reproduced from the mRNA by viral proteins as well.
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