"Adenovirus" refers to an entire family of viruses, categorized due to their shape and genetic features.

An adenovirus has an icosahedral capsid, with twelve vertices on them, and seven surface proteins. (252 capsomers: 240 "hexons" + 12 "pentons" at vertices of icosahedron (2-3-5 symmetry)) The virion is spherical, and about 70 to 90 nm in size. The DNA is double-stranded, and both strands encode genes. About thirty genes are encoded. (Linear, non-segmented, d/s DNA, 30-38kbp (size varies from group to group)) They are very widespread in nature, showing up in nearly all mammals in various forms.

Adenoviruses are responsible for the following diseases in humans: Pharyngitis, Acute Respiratory Disease, Pneumonia, Pharyngoconjunctival Fever, Epidemic Keratoconjuntivitis, Genitourinary Infections (cervicitis, urethritis, hemorrhagic cystitis), Gasteroenteritis, Some asymptomatic and persistent infection. Also, adenovirus oncogenically tranforms rodent cells but not human cells (this was first discovered in 1962, and caused a short-lived panic among researchers until they figured out it was restricted to rodent cells and did not happen in humans).

Possibile transmission routes for adenoviruses include ingestion, respiration, contact, and veneral.

Adenovirus infection does not respond much to antiviral medication. Usually, an infection must simply run the course, as the body will produce antibodies that will create a long-lasting defense against reinfection. Some vaccines are available, using live adenoviruses, given orally. They are usually restricted to military use, however, as concern about the oncogenic potential and level of attenuation make them not ready for general usage.

An adenovirus shows a lot of promise for use in gene therapy, because they can be altered in vitro to code for specific proteins rather easily, and modified viruses do not produce infectious, pathogenic offspring.

Sources:
The Adenovirus Family, http://www.stanford.edu/group/virus/adeno/adeno.html
Adenoviruses, http://www.tulane.edu/~dmsander/WWW/335/Adenoviruses.html

An icosahedral (20-sided) virus that contains DNA (as opposed to RNA); there are over 40 different adenovirus varieties, some of which cause the common cold.


From the BioTech Dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/. For further information see the BioTech homenode.

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