Introduction: Viruses

by Vincent Racaniello, PhD

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    Hello and welcome to Viruses. We're going to dig a little bit deeper into this fascinating subject and at the end of today's lectures, you should be able to know how viruses are cultivated and assayed. You should be able to distinguish the seven different types of viral genomes and their structures. And you should appreciate what information is and is not encoded in a viral genome. Let's first start by talking a little bit about how we study viruses. Now if you remember from our introductory lecture that animal viruses were discovered around the end of the 1800s, but for many years these viruses could not be routinely studied in cells in culture. They had to be studied in laboratory animals, and laboratory animals of all sorts were used, some of them are shown here, but as you can imagine, this is not a convenient procedure, plus laboratory animals can differ from experiment to experiment. So it was very important to try and determine how to grow viruses in cells and many scientists worked on that problem. Before 1949, it was not possible to use cells in a consistent and reproducible way to study viruses. But in that year, three scientists, Enders, Weller and Robbins, working in the US, found that they could propagate poliovirus, a human virus, in human cell cultures. Now they happen to use what we call primary cultures from embryonic tissues, but this experiment set a precedent. For the first time, it was possible to propagate a human virus in cell cultures. This was a very important discovery for which these researchers received the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1954. That discovery is with us today. Since 1949, we've been able to study viruses in a variety of cell cultures derived from different sources. For...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Introduction: Viruses by Vincent Racaniello, PhD is from the course Microbiology: Advanced. It contains the following chapters:

    • How Are Viruses Studied?
    • Growing Cells in Culture
    • Physical Measurements of Virus Particles
    • Viruses: Definitions
    • Largest Known Viral Genomes
    • Viruses: Learning Outcomes

    Quiz for lecture

    Test your knowledge with our quiz for lecture Introduction: Viruses .

    1. Plaque assay
    2. Serological methods
    3. Hemagglutination assay
    4. Electron microscopy
    5. Measuring viral enzymes
    1. Because mRNA must be made from all viral genomes
    2. Because all virus particles contain mRNA
    3. Because Baltimore studied mRNA
    4. Because all viral genomes are mRNAs
    5. There is no specific reason
    1. Enzymes to replicate the viral genome
    2. Gene products that catalyze membrane biosynthesis
    3. Centromeres or telomeres
    4. Complete protein synthesis systems
    5. Gene products that catalyze energy production

    Author of lecture Introduction: Viruses

     Vincent Racaniello, PhD

    Vincent Racaniello, PhD

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    CELL-fie! Haha, love the …
    By Khushbu R. on 21. April 2016 for Introduction: Viruses

    CELL-fie! Haha, love the jokes in this lecture. :)

    Hi Paul, I like …
    By Khushbu R. on 15. April 2016 for Introduction: Viruses

    Hi Paul, I like this course very much so far, the teacher is great! My only advice would be, I just wish there were more quiz questions in each lecture, only because I am an active learner. :)