Course Page 4: 2018 Virology January Term

Table of Contents

1. Syllabus
2. Calendar and Scheduled Readings
3. Lecture #1 and Study Guide

 1. Virology Syllabus

Note: Every student must obtain a  B- or better in order to pass this course

Course #616: PCCS Virology – Although the course may touch upon bacteriophage and plant viruses, emphasis is on animal virology. Viral structure and replication, viral recombination, virus-host interactions, antiviral drugs, vaccines, relation to immunology, and other similar topics are covered.

(1) Required Text: John B. Carter and Venetia A. Saunders, “Virology Principles and Applications” (Wiley 2007). You may download the text in pdf format by Clicking Here: Virology Principles and Applications

 This will be our text for this term. In addition you are encouraged but not required to purchase a hard cover copy from It would make an excellent addition to your library.

(2) Mini-Review: Oncolytic Viruses: OncolyticVirRev

Purpose: To learn about the subject of virology, and along the way, to review molecular interactions at the cellular level relative to viral infection.

Outline of the Course: We will loosely follow as a general outline, the Table of Contents of the text.

Grading and Exams

 Students are required to attain a B- or better using the following scale:

Letter Grade

GPA Scale

0-100 Scale




























D and F



Exams are in the form of questions requiring answers that demonstrate the acquisition of knowledge of the subject matter. This means that for most exams, you will be required to write the answers rather than multiple choice. Grades will be assigned using the following weights:

50% Mid-term Exam

50% Final exam

Exam Answers should be sent as a pdf file attachment with question followed by your answer. 

Good Luck and we hope you will enjoy our program!!


2. Calendar and Schedule of Required Readings

Read, Read, and Read!!!!! And then Read some more…

Week Beginning

Reading Assignment


Jan 1

Orientation, Log in to Course Page, Review Syllabus and Practice Navigating

Don’t forget Lecture #1/Study Guide at end of this Syllabus

Jan 8

Chapters 2, 3, and 4 with emphasis on Virus Structure

Pay careful attention to virus assays, and virus structure, which will be on the exam

Jan 15

Chapter 5 Attachment and Entry

Jan 22

Chapter 6 Transcription, Translation and Transport

Jan 29

Chapter 7 Virus Genome Replication

Feb 5

Chapter 8 Assembly and Exit

The first half of the term covered the steps in viral infection. All the steps, among other things, will be on the exam as these are the core principles of virology

Feb 12

Answers DUE February 19

Questions Requiring Essay Style Answers will be Issued via Email or otherwise posted on your Private Student Portal in Exams sections at right

Feb 19

Chapters 9, 10, 23

Pay careful attention to immunology considerations

Feb 26

Chapters 11,12,13, 16, 17 Specific kinds of human viruses

Try to learn the differences in replication among single stranded and double stranded RNA and DNA viruses

Mar 5

Chapters 19, 20, 21 Bacterial Viruses and Emerging viruses

Very Important: Although only a few pages, be sure you fully understand recombination

Mar 12

Chapter 22 Viruses and Cancer

Mar 19

Chapter 24 Vaccines

Mar 26

Chapter 25 Anti-viral drugs

Apr 2

Oncolytic Viruses in Cancer Therapy

A mini review-See Syllabus

Apr 9

Catch-up Week

Congratulations…you made it!

Apr 16

April 23

Apr 23-30

Extra Credit as necessary

Student may be required to do extra credit work as necessary


3. Lecture #1 with Study Guide

Virology Lecture #1:  Implications of similarity in virus and host cell envelopes

[Note that throughout this course we will be emphasizing animal viruses, so no need to study much more about plant or bacterial viruses, unless I give you a specific direction to do so.]

OK, I want to highlight something VERY IMPORTANT. Although the text is very good and has excellent illustrations, it is lacking early on in one area, and that is the purpose of the association and similarity of a target host cell membrane with a virus protein and glycoprotein coat (capsid or enveloped virus).

The point I am making, and which you need to remember forever, is that a virus ALWAYS contains portions of the host cell membrane by way of proteins, immunoglobulins, lipid structures and so forth. The only way that entry into a host cell can occur is that there first must be an attraction to that cell, and that comes about due to some similarities between the two envelopes at the cellular level.

Otherwise, why is a liver virus specific to the liver and does not infect a kidney cell? And the answer is that the virus cannot bind to the kidney cell because when the last cycle of lysogeny occurred, the virus adapted portions of the liver cell membrane into its envelope.

This has great implications in immunology. It is often said that it is far easier for a virus to cross a species than to infect a dissimilar cell in the same organism!! In other words, a virus that normally infects mouse liver may easily be able to infect a human liver cell, yet be unable to infect any other kind of cell in the mouse.

Another example is the swine flu virus, a pig virus that nonetheless easily crosses species lines to infect humans.

There is body of cancer research being carried on in which viruses are being mutated to specifically infect a particular tumor cell. Using mutagenic techniques in a lab, a liver virus can be manipulated to only replicate in liver cancer cells. The idea is that when passed to a human cancer patient, the virus will seek out and specifically destroy those cells in the process of lysogeny. This is referred to as using an oncolytic virus.

You should revisit the following portions of your text in preparation for your exam:

Section 3.5.3

Most virion membranes are derived from host cell membranes that undergo modification before incorpo- ration into virions. For example, the HIV-1 envelope is derived from the plasma membrane of the host cell, but the virus envelope contains more cholesterol and sphingomyelin, and less phosphatidylcholine and phos- phatidylinositol.

When progeny virions are released from cells the lipid composition of the envelope may reflect that of the cell.

Section 5.2.1 Cell receptors and co-receptors

A virion attaches via one or more of its surface proteins to specific molecules on the surface of a host cell. These cellular molecules are known as receptors and the recognition of a receptor by a virion is highly specific, like a key fitting in its lock.

Section 5.2.4.b Entry of enveloped viruses

Reversible attachment of an enveloped virion may lead to irreversible attachment, as for naked viruses. There are then two processes whereby infection of the cell may occur: either fusion of the virion envelope with the plasma membrane, or endocytosis followed by fusion of the virion envelope with the endosome membrane (Figure 5.3).

Both processes involve the fusion of the virion envelope with a cell membrane, either the plasma membrane or a vesicle membrane. Lipid bilayers do not fuse spontaneously and each enveloped virus has a specialized glycoprotein responsible for membrane fusion (Figure 5.4). Some examples of these fusion proteins are given in Table 5.1.

Note the excellent diagram Figure 8.3 at P 98 (PDF Page 112) demonstrating an idea of where the virus envelope comes from during lysogeny.

Know the 7 steps of virus replication, section 5.1 in the text (PDF Page 74):


Overview of virus replication

The aim of a virus is to replicate itself, and in order to achieve this aim it needs to enter a host cell, make copies of itself and get the new copies out of the cell. In general the process of virus replication can be broken down into seven steps:

1. Attachment of a virion to a cell

2. Entry into the cell

3. Transcription of virus genes into messenger RNA molecules (mRNAs)

4. Translation of virus mRNAs into virus proteins

5. Genome replication

6. Assembly of proteins and genomes into virions

7. Exit of the virions from the cell.

End of Syllabus