Rubella virus is the only member of the Rubrivirus genus of the Togavirus family. Unlike most Togaviruses it is NOT arthropod borne, but is acquired via the respiratory route. It is an enveloped (toga=cloak), non-segmented, positive sense, RNA virus and replicates in the cytoplasm. It consists of 3 structural proteins; E1,E2 membrane bound glycoproteins, and C capsid protein. The the two envelope glycoproteins E2 and E1 are found as a heterodimeric spike complex embedded in the lipid envelope. E2 envelope glycoprotein is responsible for viral attachment to target host cell, by binding to the cell receptor. Its transport to the plasma membrane depends on interaction with E1 protein.
Rubella or German measles is a mild disease in children and adults, but can cause devastating problems if it infects the fetus, especially if infection is in the first few weeks of pregnancy.
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