HIV Virus: Biological Structure and Life Cycle of HIV/AIDS Virus

HIV-Aids - United States (on December 25, 2014 01:56 AM)

HIV virus belongs to group of lentiviruses which is a subgroup of retroviruses. The genome of HIV virus is made up of RNA (ribonucleic acid) and each virus has two chains of RNA. HIV infects mainly the CD4+ lymphocytes also known as T-cells, once a cell infected the host cell is converted into HIV-Replicating cell in the result human immune system losses that cell from its functioning capacity.


So many variants of the HIV/AIDS virus can easily be found in a single patient, and the reason is structure of Human immunodeficiency virus. Moreover, HIV virus evades in the human immune system, because of its biological structure and life cycle of that virus. Therefore it is inevitable to know what kind of structure HIV has.


So what is the biological structure and life cycle of HIV virus, let’s get know.


HIV Structure:

Like other viruses, HIV does not have a cell wall or a nucleus. The basic structure of the virus includes the viral envelope, the HIV matrix proteins and the viral core.


HIV cannot grow or reproduce on its own like all the other viruses. For replication, HIV must need to infect the cells of a living organism. HIV is a social class virus. Social class often called retroviruses class. Belonging to social class, HIV is placed in the subgroup of lentiviruses. There are many other well know lentiviruses such as SIV, FIV, Visna and CAEV, which cause diseases in monkeys, cats, sheep and goats respectively.


Helper T cells are the main target for HIV; however, other cells can become infected as well including monocytes and macrophages, which can hold large numbers of viruses within themselves without being killed. Moreover, some T cells harbor similar reservoirs of the virus. So we can conclude that HIV is an enveloped RNA virus.


Structural Details of HIV

The first question regarding structural details of HIV is what it looks like. An HIV particle is about the same as around 100-150 billionths of a meter in diameter. Same as 0.1 microns or 4 millionths of an inch. You can also equalize it with one twentieth of the length of an E. coli bacterium.


HIV particles are much very small as compared to most of the bacteria. That’s why HIV particles cannot be seen with simple and ordinary microscopes; instead, observers use an electron microscope for clear vision. See the following picture for more details.

The capsid is bullet-shaped made from the protein p24. Its capsid also called its viral core. There are three enzymes required for HIV replication inside the core namely reverse transcriptase, integrase and protease.


What is RNA?

RNA is Ribonucleic Acid. HIV is an enveloped RNA virus. As all of the organisms and most of the viruses use to store their genetic material on long strands of DNA, Retroviruses do not store their genetic material on long strands of DNA because their genes are composed of RNA.


There is not much difference between RNA and DNA. The structures are almost the same with few exceptions. The only difference in both is HIV replicate (make new copies of itself) more in RNA comparatively.


The Viral Envelope

The outer coat of the virus is called the viral envelope. The viral envelope originates of two layers of lipids. The viral envelope is used to cover the protective protein capsids of virus. The envelope is typically derived from portions of the host cell membranes i.e. forming "spikes" including the outer glycoprotein (gp) 120 and the transmembrane gp41.


P17 Protein

A matrix made up of an association of the viral protein p17 surrounds the capsid. The HIV matrix proteins lie between the envelope and core. This matrix proteins consists p17 protein.


The Viral Core

The capsid is made from the protein p24. It’s also called its viral core. The viral core, contains the viral capsule, surrounds two single strands of HIV Ribonucleic Acid. The enzymes like reverse transcriptase, protease, ribonuclease, and integrase etc. always needed to replicate HIV.


For more information regarding Human Immunodeficiency Virus structure, please keep in touch with us.

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1 reviews & 0 answers
Elizabeth Wolfe
Elizabeth Wolfe on November 01, 2015 11:20 AM

1.Proteins and enzymes are a lock and key system. HIV has two locks(or proteins). Try sending in a virus with a hidden second enzyme.
2.The transmembrane is the eyes and ears of the cell. There are certain types of acids that can seal the surface of the membrane rendering the cell deaf and blind.
3.Have you tried to invert the HIV virus and treat it with UV light?
4.Anything that withstands radiation the way HIV does is most likely connective tissue and fat based-have you tried using formaldehyde.
5.Other researchers have had some success with salmonella excretions being toxic to the HIV virus.