Influenza virus pandemics: past and future

Published on October 1, 2007 Updated on January 19, 2015   50 min

A selection of talks on Microbiology

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Influenza Virus Pandemics Past and Future. Peter Palese, Department of Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York.
This slide shows an electron micrograph of an influenza virus. On the inside we can see the electron dense spots, which reflect the RNA, the genome of influenza viruses. And we have, actually, eight RNA segments, one in the middle and seven RNA segments around this central electron-dense spot. So the virus codes for eight different RNA segments, which in turn code for at least 11 different viral proteins. The virus is then also characterized by a lipid membrane, which is derived from the host cell and has a function which is important for the attachment and then for the fusion of the viral membrane with the host, and therefore the virus can get into the cell. And then, very important on the outside, there is the hemagglutinin and the neuraminidase. And they are referred to as H1 and N1, which are the placard proteins, the surface proteins on the virus which, actually, are recognized by our immune system. There are many different hemagglutinin subtypes and there are many different neuraminidase subtypes in terms of influenza viruses from different sources.