Enhance your virus lesson with our Influenza Virus Capsule.
Influenza is an RNA virus with a roughly spherical lipid envelope, which
is colored yellow on our schematic model. The outside of the virus
capsule is covered with 3 specific proteins: hemagglutinin (purple),
neuraminidase (pink) and the M2 channel (blue). These 3 proteins are
involved in virus docking, endocytosis and fusion of the viral membrane
to the host cell, the release of newly budded virus from infected cells,
and acidification of the virus core and release of the segmented viral
RNA. The specific sub-types and combinations of the hemagglutinin (H)
and neuraminidase (N) on the surface of the virus capsule categorize the
strain of the virus. The viral RNA is represented by 8 segments of RNA
-- some are colored red and some colored yellow -- to represent a reassorted virus emerging from a host cell simultaneously infected with a swine flu virus and an avian flu virus (H1N1 swine flu).