Ch 12: Structure & Function of Viruses

About This Chapter

Strengthen your knowledge of the structure and function of viruses with help from this chapter's entertaining lessons. Our mini quizzes and chapter exam can confirm your understanding and boost your confidence as you prepare for a test or work on an assignment.

Structure & Function of Viruses - Chapter Summary

This chapter offers a comprehensive overview of the structure and function of viruses. Explore bite-sized lessons to gain greater insight into the shapes and lytic cycle of a virus as well as how viruses mutate. These lessons are easy to navigate and feature multiple-choice quizzes you can take anytime to test your knowledge of key concepts. As you progress through the lessons, clarify any information you don't fully understand by submitting questions to our subject-matter experts. Upon completion of this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Define and describe the structure and function of a virus
  • List and discuss the classification of viruses
  • Explain how viruses live, attack and replicate
  • Outline the steps involved in the lysogenic cycle of a virus
  • Describe the structure, function and life cycle of the Ebola virus
  • Detail the life cycle of retrovirus infection
  • Discuss the structure and function of HIV

11 Lessons in Chapter 12: Structure & Function of Viruses
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What Are Viruses? - Definition, Structure & Function

1. What Are Viruses? - Definition, Structure & Function

In this lesson, you'll learn some historical facts about viruses and the material they are composed of. Find out more as we review the capsid, nucleic acids, the viral envelope, viruses, virions, bacteriophages and virology.

Shapes of a Virus: Helical, Icosahedral, Prolate, Complex & Enveloped

2. Shapes of a Virus: Helical, Icosahedral, Prolate, Complex & Enveloped

Learn about the different shapes viruses can have, such as helical, icosahedral, prolate, complex and enveloped. Find out why one shape is particularly useful from an energetic standpoint.

Classification of Viruses: Viral Genome and Replication Scheme

3. Classification of Viruses: Viral Genome and Replication Scheme

Find out how viruses are classified based on their being double-stranded, single-stranded, positive-sense, negative-sense, or by having something called reverse transcriptase.

The Life Cycle of a Virus: How Viruses Live, Attack & Replicate

4. The Life Cycle of a Virus: How Viruses Live, Attack & Replicate

Find out how viruses infect and replicate as we explore the important steps of the virus life cycle, including attachment, uncoating, penetration, replication, and release, as well as the lysogenic and lytic cycles.

Lytic Cycle of a Virus: Definition & Steps

5. Lytic Cycle of a Virus: Definition & Steps

Viruses infect our cells, replicate, and then need to leave. One of the ways they choose to leave is by destroying the host cell. They do this by cutting (lysing) their way out. This is called the lytic cycle of a virus and is the subject of this lesson.

Lysogenic Cycle of a Virus: Definition & Steps

6. Lysogenic Cycle of a Virus: Definition & Steps

Once a virus infects one of your cells, it begins to replicate. Some viruses make hundreds of copies of themselves and then escape their host. Lysogenic viruses choose a different path. They can actually insert their genetic material into your DNA.

Ebola Virus: Structure and Function

7. Ebola Virus: Structure and Function

Ebola is a virus that causes severe, often fatal disease. It is a filovirus, meaning it looks like a thread when viewed with an electron microscope. Various viral proteins help replicate the RNA genome and make new viral particles.

Ebola Virus Life Cycle: Definition & Stages

8. Ebola Virus Life Cycle: Definition & Stages

The Ebola virus has caused many casualties in recent years. This lesson looks at the life cycle of the Ebola virus as well as possible therapeutic targets that could prevent the disease.

Retrovirus: Definition, Life Cycle & Example

9. Retrovirus: Definition, Life Cycle & Example

This lesson will discuss retrovirus infection, survival, and reproduction. First we'll discuss how a regular virus works, then how a retrovirus differs, using HIV as an example.

HIV Virus: Structure and Function

10. HIV Virus: Structure and Function

HIV is a virus that attacks human immune cells. It has a complicated life cycle, with its information being stored as RNA, then transferred to DNA, before new viral particles are made. Learn how HIV proteins work to move HIV through its life cycle.

How Viruses Mutate: Antigenic Drift and Antigenic Shift

11. How Viruses Mutate: Antigenic Drift and Antigenic Shift

This lesson will discuss the major ways by which viruses, notably the flu virus, mutates. We will talk about recombination, reassortment, antigenic drift, antigenic shift, and more!

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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