Encyclopedia > Capsid

  Article Content


The outer shell of a virus is called the capsid. It consists of several monomeric subunits made of protein. The capsid serves three main purposes :

  • It protects the genetic material of the virus.
  • It determines if a cell is suitable for infection.
  • It starts the actual infection by attaching and "opening" the target cell and injecting the genetic material of the virus into the cell.

Once the virus has infected the cell, it will sooner or later start replicating itself, using the "infrastructure" of the infected cell. During this process, the capsid subunits are synthesized according to the genetic material of the virus, using the protein biosynthesis mechanism of the cell. Some viruses will also take a portion of the host cell's cell membrane with them when they depart, enclosing the proteinaceous capsid with viral proteins projecting through it.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
Springs, New York

... to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females there are 102.1 males. For ...

This page was created in 24.3 ms