Basic virology

Influenza neuraminidase and H5N1 pathogenicity

There are two glycoproteins embedded in the influenza viral membrane: the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). The NA, shown in yellow in the illustration, is an enzyme that removes sialic acids from the surface of the cell, so that newly formed virions can be released. The NA protein is composed of a box-like head attached …

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Virus neutralization by antibodies

The antibody response is crucial for preventing many viral infections and may also contribute to resolution of infection. When a vertebrate is infected with a virus, antibodies are produced against many epitopes on multiple virus proteins. A subset of these antibodies can block virus infection by a process that is called neutralization. Antibodies can neutralize viral infectivity …

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Measurement of viruses by end-point dilution assay

The plaque assay is a terrific method for determining virus titers, but it doesn’t work for all viruses. Fortunately there are several alternative methods available, including the end-point dilution assay. The end-point dilution assay was used to measure virus titer before the development of the plaque assay, and is still used for viruses that do …

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Detecting viruses: the plaque assay

One of the most important procedures in virology is measuring the virus titer – the concentration of viruses in a sample. A widely used approach for determining the quantity of infectious virus is the plaque assay. This technique was first developed to calculate the titers of bacteriophage stocks. Renato Dulbecco modified this procedure in 1952 …

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