Replication of DNA Viruses

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  • 0:05 DNA Replications Strategies
  • 0:52 Entry and Integration…
  • 2:00 Replication and…
  • 4:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will give you a basic overview of how DNA viruses replicate inside of a host cell. We will cover the entry, integration, replication and release of DNA viruses.

DNA Replications Strategies

Some of the most well-known viruses, such as those that cause herpes, smallpox, hepatitis and warts, have a DNA based genome. These viruses must have slightly different replication schemes compared to their RNA brethren in order to make a living. That's because their genome is the same type of genome as their host animal cell. However, the problem is that certain DNA viruses don't follow the same replication schemes as most other DNA viruses. There are exceptions to everything in science, and in order to avoid giving you a massive headache, we'll focus in on the core basics of the replication sites, schemes and terms associated with DNA viruses.

Entry and Integration of DNA Viruses

DNA viruses that infect humans have a double-stranded DNA genome encased in a protective shell, called a capsid, which may, in turn, be enclosed in an envelope. These envelopes give viruses certain advantages, like ease of infection. On the flip side, an envelope makes a virus more sensitive to environmental destruction.

In any case, once the virus gains entry into the human body, it must touchdown on the surface of a cell it's going to infect. I picture it almost like a moon landing of sorts. Viruses have little adhesion molecules, like legs on a lunar module, that will stick to the surface of a cell, or the moon's crust. Once the virus, our lunar module, touches down on the surface of its cell, it will then trick the cell into allowing it entry into the cytoplasm, or the mantle of the moon. After drilling down below the surface of the moon, through the mantle, or cytoplasm, the DNA viral genome enters into the core of the moon or the nucleus of the cell. This is where it will do its dirty work.

Replication and Release of DNA Viruses

Once the viral DNA is integrated into the host DNA, this provirus uses the host cell machinery to copy its genome for future virus babies. In addition, it uses the host cell's polymerase, an enzyme that catalyzes the formation of nucleic acids, to make mRNA from its DNA in a process known as transcription. After the mRNA is made, it is sent to the host cell's ribosomes, which are the protein builders of the cell. You can think of the mRNA as one of those barcodes on the receipt of a product you may have recently bought. The ribosome will scan the barcode and will produce a product. Each barcode from each virus may be a bit different. Hence, when the ribosome, like a clerk at a store, scans the barcode, they will go get you a different type of product.

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