Gallery of viruses, 25th of November, 2009.

virus, rendering, color, echovirus

There is constantly some fuss with these viruses of flu, different variants of flu, and, it is true, there is a certain number of fatalities. I thought therefore, that this is a good time to dig up some images of viruses from an old computer, that I made during last 5 years (huh ... it has passed that much already...). The best of the works I found are shown here. The image above shows echovirus (human enterovirus B), very contagious RNA virus that can be found in gaastrointestinal tract and can lead to quite serious consequences (meningitis, myocarditis, liver failure). Horror. On the image one sees the outer surface of a virus made of proteins that protect its interior (single-stranded RNA molecule). The image was made from experimentally determined coordinates of the atoms in the virus (! yes, they can do it today with a resolution of almost an Angstrom !) that I found in Protein Data Bank. I replaced every atom with a sphere whose radius is of the order of magnitude of the experimental resolution. The color of the spheres is varied in accordance with the distance of a particular atom from the center of the structure.

nodamura virus

The image above shows the nodamura virus (Nodaviridae). It seems that this virus avoids humans thus far. Its diameter is about 30 nanometers. I have also chosen a different color palette here.

hepatitis B virus

The image above shows hepatitis B virus. This virus infects humans, but the infection is successfully prevented by vaccination. Still, hepatitis B is important health problem in the world today and one third (!) of the world population has been infected with the virus. Hepatitis B virus contains DNA molecule in its interior.

tobacco ringspot virus

Tobacco ringspot virus is a plant virus, not that selective with respect to its host, but it has been first observed on tobacco leaves so that is where its name comes from.

turnip yellow mosaic virus

Turnip yellow mosaic virus is a plant virus that, among other plants, infects cabbage.

cucumber mosaic virus

Cucumber mosaic virus is a plant virus. It has been very thoroughly investigated and it is often used as a benchmark system for the study of virus self-assembly. On the image above, one can see the cross section of the virus, i.e. its interior (without the RNA molecule).

It is interesting how the proteins of this virus have evolved so that their "tails" stretch out towards the center of the virus. The tails (light-blue parts) are very positively charged and we have recently calculated that the reason for that may be improved binding of the negatively charged RNA molecule and larger precision in the assembly - it seems that the big part of the interaction energy in a virus is of electrostatic origin.

UPDATE: (25th of May 2015) More 3D renderings of viruses based on experimental data (PDB) can be seen in posts:

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Last updated on 25th of May, 2015.