Epstein Barr Virus Essay

945 words - 4 pages

Viruses are genetic elements enclosed in protein. Although some consider them to be non-living, viruses are important biological entities because they have the capability of producing disease (Raven, 2010). One of the most common viruses in humans is the Epstein- Barr virus or abbreviated (EBV). Throughout this essay, the biology of the Epstein-Barr virus will be examined by discussing characteristics that are associated with this virus such as the process of infection and entry, viral replication, and consequences to the host cell.
Epstein-Barr virus, which is also known as Human herpes virus (HHV-4), is an important virus because it infects a large portion of humans. (Odumade, 2011). ...view middle of the document...

The host cells of EBV are mainly lymphocytes and epithelial cells. Under some circumstances, the virus may infect T cells, natural killer cells and smooth muscle cells (Hutt Fetcher, 2007). After identifying its host cell, the virus attaches to B cells by binding the viral gp350 protein to CD21 on B cells so that it is able to latch onto the cell. Then the EBV gp42 interacts with HLA class II molecules on the B cell to triggers fusion with the host membrane. This step allows the virus to fuse with the host cell in order to inject its DNA into the cell. When host cell lacks CD21, such as in epithelial cells, the EBV BMRF-2 protein interacts with β1 integrins and the EBV gH/gL envelope protein is able trigger fusion. DNA is transferred to host cell through endocytosis of the virus into vesicles, which releases the nucleocapsid that is carrying the DNA into the cytoplasm. Once the nucleocapsid is dissolved, the DNA is able to be transported to the nucleus, where it can be replicated by DNA (Odumade, 2011). There is not much detailed information about what happens between fusion and the arrival of the DNA in the nucleus, but ideas are based on what is known for other herpesviruses (Hutt- Fletcher, 2007).
During the lytic phase of the viral life cycle, the viral DNA polymerase accomplishes linear viral replication. The lytic cycle is known as the stage of productive infection, and is when infectious virions are produced. The Epstein- Barr virus is able to undergo lytic replication in both epithelial cells and B cells. In B cells, lytic replication takes place after a trigger activates the virus. Nobody is really sure what causes this trigger, but the trigger switches the virus lifecycle from latency to lytic. In epithelial cells, lytic replication occurs right after viral...

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