The Biology of SmallPox

Jack Fung

Smallpox is caused by the virus variola.  Smallpox is a pox virus characterized as a brick shape.  Smallpox contains a linear double stranded DNA made up of lipoprotein envelopes.  The virons contains a DNA-Dependant RNA polymerize, this means that it needs to attach itself to a DNA strand to survive within the body.  The virus replicates itself in the cytoplasm of the cell so it does not need to access the RNA of your cell.  Once transmitted  into the human body it is transported though out the blood stream to attack other parts of the body.  It is usually entered though the respiratory track and lymph nodes.  The virus also spread though the skin and causes blisters of the skin.  Again smallpox has a double stranded DNA genome and has about 250-400 Daltons.  After the virus penetrates though the cell wall it attaches itself to the DNA and starts to synthesize mRNA which is transferred into early nonstructural proteins, these are mainly for viral replications only.