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College of Dentistry

Microbiology Lec. 8

Viruses & Related Microorganism

Viruses are one of the smallest forms of living,
however, they can cause sever, acute or chronic
systemic & orofacial infections. The common
features of viruses are the followings:
1. They are acellular: They have neither
cytoplasm nor organelles, but are composed
of a nucleic acid & a protein coat.
2. They are obligate intracellular: Outside
the host, viruses are completely inert & they
don't have any metabolic activity as they
can't generate energy.
3. They proliferate only inside the host cells
after infection.

Viral Structure:
Viruses are composed basically of three
components; nucleic acid, protein coat, with or
without outer envelope.
1. Nucleic acid: is either DNA or RNA, but
never both. The nucleic acid can be single
stranded or double stranded & it contain all
the viral genome (genes).
2. Protein coat (Capsid): is composed of
repeated units of a same simple protein, each
unit is called capsomere, which carry the
antigenic determination of the virus & are
used when vaccines against viruses are
3. Outer envelope: is composed of
lipoproteins (phospholipids) & it has certain
tiny outer projections called spikes or

College of Dentistry
Microbiology Lec. 8

The nucleic acid & the capsid are together
called nucleocapsid unit.
All viruses must have nucleic acid & capsid, but
the envelope can be present or not (not all
viruses have an outer envelope).
Viruses without envelope are called naked or
non-enveloped, while those that possess it
are called enveloped.

Capsid Symmetry:
Refers to the symmetry or arrangement of the
capsomeres around & in relation to the nucleic acid
molecule, it is of three types:
1. Icosahedral: The protein coat or capsid forms
a triangular tube of equilateral faces around the
nucleic acid. Most DNA viruses are of this type.
2. Helical: The capsid surrounds the nucleic acid
in a helical form (helix). Most RNA viruses are
of this type.
3. Complex: Where both of above symmetries
are found together in the same virus, e.g. pox

College of Dentistry
Microbiology Lec. 8

Taxonomy (Classification) of Viruses:

Viruses usually are classified only in family, genus,
& species. The features of classification are:
1. The nucleic acid type (DNA or RNA).
2. Double stranded or single stranded nucleic acid.
3. Whether they are enveloped or not.

College of Dentistry
Microbiology Lec. 8

Taxonomy of Common Viruses


DNA Herpes I Herpes labialis,

Double stranded orofacial infection
Enveloped Herpes V Salivary gland
(Cytomegalovirus) infection
Pox virus Small pox,
chicken pox
DNA Adenovirus Respiratory
Double stranded infection,
Naked pharyngitis in
infants, pneumonia,
ocular infection
Papovavirus Warts (The benign
(Human tumor of skin, oral
papilloma virus) cavity that rarely
becomes malignant)
Hepatitis virus B Viral hepatitis type B
RNA Orthomyxovirus, Influenza
Single stranded Influenza virus
Enveloped Mumps virus Mumps
Measles virus Measles
Rubella virus German measles
Retrovirus (HIV) AIDS
RNA Picornavirus, Respiratory infection
Single stranded Rhinovirus
Non-enveloped Poliovirus Poliomyelitis
RNA Rotavirus Flu-like illness
Double stranded

College of Dentistry
Microbiology Lec. 8

Viral Replication:
It is a complex multi-step process, as viruses are
acellular; they don't have their own enzyme or
energy production system so they must use all the
enzymes of host cell as well as the ribosomes of the
host cell for protein synthesis. The steps of
replication are:
1. Adsorption.
2. Penetration.
3. Uncoating.
4. Transcription.
5. Synthesis of viral components & capsomeres.
6. Assembly.
7. Release.

College of Dentistry
Microbiology Lec. 8

Viroid & Prion:

These are smaller than viruses and differ from them.

Viroids: are composed of nucleic acid only, so they

lack any capsid. They are usually small molecules of
single stranded RNA of not more than 400
nucleotides in length.
They are not associated with any known human
disease; however, they can cause many diseases in

Prions: are smaller than viroids, they are

considered the smallest form of life now.
They are composed of protein coat without any
nucleic acid inside, so they are just empty
proteinaceous particle composed of several
They can cause very sever, acute or chronic
infections that are usually fatal especially in the
central nervous system (CNS).

College of Dentistry
Microbiology Lec. 8

Hepatitis B Virus:
v HBV is non-enveloped DNA virus with a unique
structure & mode of action.
v Hepadnaviridae family.
v The major proteins of HBV are the surface
antigen (HBs Ag) & core antigen (HBc Ag).
v Flowing infection, the virus replicates primarily
in hepatocytes with large amount of HBs Ag,
which then circulates in the blood.
v Acute infection may resolve with complete
elimination of the virus or may be followed by
chronic persistent infection which is associated
with a high risk of hepatic carcinoma (hepatoma).

Clinical Features:
HBV is transmitted by:
1. Sexual contact.
2. Parenteral inoculation of blood or blood
products through blood transfusion.
3. Parenteral drug abuse.
4. Tattooing or acupuncture.
5. From infected mothers to their infants during
The incubation period varies from 3-4 weeks to
nearly six months.
The majority of infection is asymptomatic.
10-20% of infected patients will have symptomatic
Chronic infection is a major risk factor for the
development of hepatoma; the incubation period
may be up to 40 years.

College of Dentistry
Microbiology Lec. 8

By detection of the excess HBs Ag present in serum
during both acute & chronic infection.
Screening of blood donors for HBs Ag has reduced
the incidence of HBV infection among recipient and
of blood & blood products.

Hepatitis A Virus:
v HAV is small Non-enveloped RNA virus.
v Picornavirus family.
v Transmitted primarily by the orofacial route.
v Following ingestion, the virus travel via the blood
stream to the liver.
v Replication in the liver result in (5-10) days of
viremia, & shedding of the virus in the stool for
(1-2) weeks.
v The infection resolves completely in all cases.
v Chronic or latent infection doesn't occur.
v The incubation period of HAV infection is 30 days
as an average (ranges from 10-50 days).
v Most infections, especially those in children, are
asymptomatic although evidence of chemical
hepatitis is usually found on lab test.
v Occurrence of the virus in blood: two weeks
before Jaundice to one week or less after
Jaundice, while HBV for months to years.
v Occurrence of the virus in stool: two weeks before
to two weeks after Jaundice, while HBV is absent
in stool.

College of Dentistry
Microbiology Lec. 8

Human Immunodeficiency Virus:

v HIV is a member of the retrovirus family, a group
of enveloped viruses. Glycoprotein envelope
undergoes antigenic variation.
v Viruses possess the enzyme reverse transcriptase
(RT), which allows the virus to synthesize DNA
copy of its RNA genome.

Routes of Transmission:
1. Sexual contact.
2. Through parenteral exposure to contaminated
blood or blood products.
3. From mother to child during delivery.
4. The presence of other sexually transmitted
disease (e.g. syphilis & gonorrhea) increases
the risk of sexual HIV transmission as much as
hundred fold.
Asymptomatic virus positive (+ve) individuals
can transmit the virus.

Pathogenesis & Pathology:

v The typical course of untreated HIV infection
spans about decade. The stages include:
1. The primary infection.
2. Dissemination of virus to lymphoid organs.
3. Clinical latency.
4. Elevated HIV expression.
5. Clinical disease & death.
v The duration between primary infection &
progression to clinical disease averages about 10
v Death usually occurs within the two years after
the onset of clinical symptoms.

College of Dentistry
Microbiology Lec. 8

v Following primary infection, viral replication

occurs and viremia is detectable for about 8-12
v Also virus is widely disseminated & lymphoid
organs become seeded.
v There is a significant drop in numbers of CD4 T
v Immune response occurs in a week to 3 months
after infection. This response drops viremia and
rebound level of CD4 T cell. However, immune
response unable to clear the infection completely.
v Clinical latency may last for along 10 years.
During this time, there is high level of ongoing
viral replication.
v Eventually the patient develops symptoms &
clinically apparent disease, such as opportunistic
infection or neoplasm.
v Higher levels of virus are detectable in the plasma
which much more virulent & cytopathic.

Opportunistic Infection:
The main common causes of death in late stages
1. Protozoa; Toxoplasma.
2. Fungi; Candida.
3. Bacteria; Mycobacterium.
4. Viruses; Cytomegalovirus (CMV).

AIDS patients develop cancer, like non-Hodgkin's
lymphoma (NHL) & Kaposi's sarcoma (KS).

Typed by:
Noor Al-Deen M. Al-Khanati