Monday, April 8, 2013

Viruses and Us-First Reader

I found this week’s reading to be interesting and applicable to my major. As an MCB major, I have studied the effects of bacteria and viruses in living organisms.  The most interesting piece of information that I learned in my classes is the way of which viruses propagate duplication within a bacteriaphage (infected bacteria cell). Once the bacteria cell is infected, the virus must decide to go into a lytic or lysogenic phase.  
Lytic phase occurs when the host cell is deemed healthy by the virus and can duplicate the virus and eventually be lysed (killed) to spread the newly formed viruses.  The lysogenic phase occurs when the host cell is not very healthy.  What occurs under these conditions is the integration of the virus’ genetic information into the host cells genome.  Once the host cell is healthy enough then the cell will go into the lytic phase. 

This was an explanation of the reading in chapter 8 where it stated:

“One other option for the virus is to simply remain in the cell without causing any damage and without spreading, such that the host becomes a carrier of the virus.  The virus can remain latent and noninfectious until the immune function is suppressed and then symptoms of infection may emerge. (Ch. 8 pg 220)”

Another topic that one of my classes studied was the utilization of vitamin K produced by intestinal host bacteria.  The human body cannot synthesize vitamin K so that is why we have created a symbiotic relationship with this form of bacteria.  Vitamin K is used to strengthen our immune system helping in coagulation and absorption of other biological nutrients.

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