Columbia University Course , Spring 2011 , Prof. Vincent Racaniello

Lecture 1: What is a virus? (Lecture 1)

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Lecture Details :

Virology - Biology W3310

Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D. | Higgins Professor
Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Columbia University, New York

Course Description :

The basic thesis of the course is that all viruses adopt a common strategy. The strategy is simple:

1. Viral genomes are contained in metastable particles.

2. Genomes encode gene products that promote an infectious cycle (mechanisms for genomes to enter cells, replicate, and exit in particles).

3. Infection patterns range from benign to lethal; infections can overcome or co-exist with host defenses.

The course will emphasize the common reactions that must be completed by all viruses for successful reproduction within a host cell and survival and spread within a host population. The molecular basis of alternative reproductive cycles, the interactions of viruses with host organisms, and how these lead to disease are presented with examples drawn from a set of representative animal and human viruses, although selected bacterial viruses will be discussed.

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