How virus behaviour influences infection


Speed is of the essence, researchers find.


An illustration showing how viruses may inject their DNA into a host cell synchronously or randomly.

An illustration showing how viruses may inject their DNA into a host cell synchronously or randomly.

Alex Evilevitch and Ting Liu

The speed with which viruses inject their DNA into host bacteria governs the course of subsequent infection, researchers have found.

A team led by Alex Evilevitch from the University of Illinois in the US discovered that if multiple viruses released their DNA into a cell all at once, it was likely to be incorporated into the existing DNA and a period of latency would occur before infection became evident.

On the other hand, if the viral DNA injections were spaced out, happening more slowly, the result was more likely to be catastrophic, with the host forced to make multiple copies of the invaders, ultimately leading to its death.

The research is published in the journal eLife.

  1. https://elifesciences.org/articles/37345/figures
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