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Dept of Molecular Pharmacology
Dept of Microbiology & Immunology

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5. Schematic of the retroviral structure.

The lipid bilayer is shown as two concentric outer circles oin which are embedded the envelope protein complex. The capsid proteins are shown as a hexagon. The two copies of the RNA genome are shown as a loop bound by nucleoproteins. Other proteins are as indicated.


Depending upon the retroviral class, particle shapes can be divided into distinct categories:

  • A-type particles are immature intracellular forms derived from endogenous retrovirus-like elements and the immature form of MMTV.

  • B-type particles correspond to the extracellular form of MMTV and are characterized by prominent surface protein "spikes" and a dense acentric nucleocapsid.

  • C-type particles form at the surface of the cell at the site of budding. Lentiviruses bud like C type particles but have a distinctive blunted cone shaped core.

  • D-type particles are the MMPV related viruses of sub-human primates, and differ from B-type particles by a lack of surface spikes.




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