Types of Viruses

By Darren Marchesani

Spherical (Influenza)

These viruses are composed of protein subunits that pack to form a framework enclosing the nucleic acid.

Helical (Tobacco mosaic virus)

This virus structure has a capsid with a central cavity that's made by proteins arranged in a circular fashion. The disc shapes are attached helically, creating a tube with room for the nucleic acid in the middle.

Complex (Bacteriophage)

These virus structures have a combo of icosahedral and helical shape and may have a complex outer wall or head-tail morphology.

Polyhedral (Adenovirus)

These viruses consist of nucleic acid surrounded by a many-sided shell (capsid), usually in the form of an icosahedron.
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