The measles virus (MV or MeV) is a member of the genus Morbillivirus, which belongs to the family Paramyxoviridae. It is an enveloped (non-segmented), negative-sense and single-stranded RNA virus which targets human as its natural host (no animal reservoirs are reported up to now). Measles virus causes measles, an infection disease that targets on the respiratory system of humans. Measles is a highly contagious injection with multiple symptoms including cough, fever, runny nose, red eyes and generalized, maculopapular, erythematous rash. Measles affects more than 20 million people all over the world each year, mainly in developing areas in Asia and Africa. Mortality rate of measles infection is about 0.2%, but it can up to 10% for individuals who have malnutrition. Despite the fact that measles virus is serologically monotypic, eight clades of measles have been classified and are named from A to H. They are further catalogued into 23 sub types. Major genotype is different in different areas.
Fig.1 Measles virus particle under electron microscopy
Two envelope glycoproteins were identified from the surface of measles virus: hemagglutinin (H) and membrane fusion protein (F). Both of them are critical for the binding between measles virus and host cells, and the invasion of measles virus. Three receptors from the surface of host cells have been found to bind with measles H protein: the signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM), the complement regulatory molecule CD46 and the cell adhesion molecule Nectin-4. Genomes of measles virus are covered by its capsid, which are constructed by the nucleocapsid protein N. Two other large proteins are identified as protein L and the phosphoprotein P. The protein L and phosphoprotein P are involved in the replication of measles viral genome and also play important roles in the expression of viral structural proteins.
After the entrance into the host cells, viral protein P and L will make a strand of viral RNA for the replication of viral genomes and expression of viral proteins. The viral RNA strand is complimentary to the genomic strand. The newly expressed viral proteins will be carried out with the association of protein P and L. The new viral genomes and proteins will proceed the self-assembly to form new measles virus particles and bud off from the cell membrane and steal part of the host cell membrane to construct its own envelopes.
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