Virus Families with DNA Discussion Essay

A virus can be classified into different categories based on structure, binomial nomenclature, modes of infection, and also capsid structure. Baltimore in 1971 classified viruses into different families based on the viral mRNA synthesis method. According to this classification, the viruses were classified into seven groups based on nucleic acid present in them, strandedness (double-strand or single strand), and their mode of replication. This classification system was widely accepted by many scientific firms because genome-based classification gave a clear understanding of the common behavior of viruses and their developmental graphs. This classification leads to seven groups of viruses: double-stranded DNA virus, single-stranded DNA virus, double-stranded RNA virus, + single-stranded RNA virus, – single-stranded DNA virus, single-stranded RNA-RT virus, and double-stranded DNA-RT virus. A DNA virus is a kind of virus which possess DNA and it acts as genetic material and it utilized as DNA-dependent DNA polymerase for the process of replication. A single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) virus gets its genome copied into a double-stranded DNA (ds DNA) infecting a cell. The virus can infect plants, animals, and even bacteria. DNA viruses are found to be more active to infect animal and prokaryotic cells. Only 17% of plant cells are infected by DNA viruses. DNA viruses have been classified into different families by the Baltimore classification system, depending upon the different types of DNAs in them and a variety of capsid shapes and capsid symmetry.

The viruses in this family are non-enveloped or naked with an icosahedral geometry of the capsid and a non-segmented, linear dsDNA as the genetic material. The canine hepatitis virus is a common example of adenoviral. Adenovirus can be transported to the host cells by the formation of endosomes. The virus has spiked over the penton base, which helps them to attach to the receptors over the host cell, thereby infecting the cell. Replication in this virus is done by using the cellular machinery of the host.

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They are similar to the adenoviral family with a naked cell and icosahedral capsid. The genomic material in this family is circular dsDNA. Papilloma, BK, and JC viruses come under this family, and they are involved in many infectious diseases. Papillomavirus causes warts or papilloma by infecting the squamous epithelial cells. BK virus or polyomavirus is responsible for nephritis. BK virus can stay latent in the body for a long time and will start replicating and infecting kidney cells if the immunity of the body goes down. JC virus is associated with a disorder of white matter of the brain called leukoencephalopathy.

This virus family includes the smallest DNA viruses. The word parvo has been taken from the Latin word “Parvus”, which means small. The genome is linear ssDNA with only three-four genes. This virus is naked with an icosahedral capsid having 32 capsomeres. Human parvovirus B19 and canine parvovirus are examples of viruses belonging to the parvoviral family. Human parvovirus B19 mainly infects children. It is also called as fifth disease or erythema infectiosum in which rashes occur all over the cheeks.

The members of this family have enveloped structure with an icosahedral capsid. dsDNA is the genetic material in these viruses. Herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, varicella-zoster virus, and Epstein Barr virus are a few examples of the Herpesviridae family. The name herpes has been taken from the Greek word “herein”, which means “to creep”. They show a creeping behavior in their infecting stage, where the infection recurrence rate is high with the very slow growth of the virus. Genetically, they form a very complex family with around 160 genes in the genome. Herpes virus has different serotypes and they are associated with different diseases in humans accordingly. For example, herpesvirus 1 and herpesvirus 2 are associated with ulcers in the mouth and genitals. Herpesvirus 3 is called the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox and zoster (nerve cell infection). Epstein Barr virus causes Burkitt’s lymphoma, and cytomegalovirus is associated with mononucleosis and salivary gland disease.

Viruses in this family come under complex viruses with a complex capsid. The genome is dsDNA. This family is mainly involved in infections that cause pox (lesions on the skin). Different poxviruses such as smallpox, cowpox, monkeypox, and vaccinia virus come under the poxviridae family. Epithelial skin infection is caused by these viruses.


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