RelevanceWest Nile Virus is part of the flavivirus family, many of which are capable of causing serious illness in humans. The ssRNA + strand virus is enveloped and spherical with a diameter of 40-50 nm, similar to all flaviviruses.
The virion of this virus is a nucleocapsid covered by a lipoprotein envelope. The envelope contains two proteins: the protein M and glycoprotein E. The nucleocapsid is a complex of protein C and mRNA. In immature particles, there are 60 icosaedrally organized trimeric spikes on the surface. Each spike consists of three heterodimers of envelope protein M precursor (prM) and envelope protein E. Inside cells, viral particles will contain a preM particle and E in a complex that matures through proteolytic cleavage and processing in the Golgi apparatus.
WNV has three different effects on humans, the first is asymptomatic infection; the second is a mild febrile syndrome termed West Nile Fever; the third is a neuroinvasive disease termed West Nile meningitis or encephalitis. In infected individuals the ratio between the three states is roughly 110:30:1. The main route of human infection is through the bite of an infected mosquito.
References for West Nile Virus preM peptide (ab39905)
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