And so the lame-duck week has come to an end. When crazy tests are put on a Wednesday, I don't think anyone expects much to get done on Thursday and Friday. Very few people stuck around for lecture and the presentations were held to mostly introductory topics. We learned our first 3 of untold scores of virus categories today: papillomavirus, polyomavirus, and adenovirus.
|HPV by electron microscopy|
The only one of these you're likely to know is (human) papillomavirus, aka HPV. These viruses can cause warts (yes those warts too), a slimy infection of mucous membranes (yes those membranes too), and cervical cancer (there's only one cervix, but for the sake of completeness: yes that cervix too).
TIL: The way HPV can cause such diverse conditions is that each subtype of virus encodes a specific subset of genes from its tiny genome. Subtypes 16 and 18 cause cancer because they express genes for three oncoproteins. These use the same techniques as cancer to convince the infected cell to replicate unchecked. The virus doesn't actually care if the cell divides and/or becomes cancerous; it just needs the cell to replicate its own DNA so the virus can then use the cell's replicative machinery to reproduce itself.