Simplified Adeno-associated virus (AAV) virus particle. Image is 500 pixels across, the original measures 2500 x 2500 pixels.
The Adeno-associated viruses are small and relatively simple viruses that have great potential as vectors for gene therapy. They naturally integrate their genome into the host cell and so by replacing part of that genome with therapeutic DNA the new genes can be introduced into the host cell. Adeno-associated viruses are thought to be harmless by themselves but in association with other viruses can kill cells during their replication.
In this computer graphic, the translucent yellow outer layer represents the viral proteins (arranged as an icosahedral capsid) and the red inner ball represents the single stranded DNA genome (viral genes).
Modelling and rendering done using Martin Wengenmayers CHEETAH 3D software.