We tested the bee samples for three different viruses: Israeli Acute Bee Paralysis Virus (IAPV), Acute Paralysis Virus (APV), and Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). Before we could begin with the test, we had to understand what viruses are exactly.
Viruses concern a particular group of pathogens that differ greatly from other parasites.
They possess no cellular organization and also no cell organelles. Therefore, they cannot produce metabolism and cannot multiply on their own. Instead, they convince host cells to take over their genetic information, which is saved in the form of DNA or RNA.
The term “virus” encompasses two types of states and developmental stages:
On the one hand, the total, infectious little virus-containing part outside of the host cells. Also called a virus particle or a virion.
On the other hand, the DNA or RNA on the inside of the cells of the host, which contain the information for duplication and development of the first virus form (virions).
Virions are pathogens, about 15-400 nm large, which are made up of genetic material, i.e., DNA or RNA, and a protein capsule (capsid). Some viruses are surrounded by an additional membrane (virus capsule) or possess other additional components.
Because viruses cannot multiply on their own, they convince other cells to do this for them, the process of which takes place as follows:
First, a virion attaches itself to a single host cell, sort of like a key-lock mechanism. The surfaces of the cells vary to where only certain virions can attach themselves to certain host cells—they are very specific, as far as this goes. After attaching, the virion brings its genetic information into the inside of the cell (Injection). It can also happen, that the entire virion will be taken in completely by the cell. For this, the virion must first be freed from its shell (uncoating), so that the host cell can take over the genetic functions.
During the next step, a segment from it is activated, so that only a part of the proteins of the virus is formed. These proteins are referred to as early proteins.
The mode of operation of these proteins varies. Some viruses immediately begin the process of multiplying virus chromosomes.
In other cases, they stop the processes in the cells, in order to keep them free for virus production for as long as possible. For example, some viruses prevent the translation of the host’s own mRNA. Next, the nucleic acid multiplies until there are hundreds or even thousands.
Now, the second part of the genetic information begins. These are appropriately dubbed late genes. The structure proteins are encoded on them, under which are found the envelope proteins, which later encase the virion.
In the next step, the envelope proteins form a capsule around the nucleic acid. With that, a single virion is formed.
When many copies of the virus are fully constructed, they leave the cells, by which the cell membrane is dissolved or the virions are discharged from the cell. In this case, pieces of the cell membrane are converted into parts of the virus. When the virions reach the outside of the cell, they spread out and grab on to new cells and the cycle begins again.
Simply put: The virus attaches to a cell, sprays its genetic material into the cell, which the cell duplicates and then builds a shell around. Finally, the cell bursts and a bunch of new viruses come storming out and grab on to new cells.