> From: "Alb=E9 van der Merwe ZA" <vdmerwea at intekom.co.za>
> Subject: Re: Where do we go from here?
> Staying on this topic: would the "deadness" of a prion not also
infer that state on a virus? Afterall, the virus only replicates when
> a host, not all by itself. So the extracellular virus is also dead? Or is
> it just latent? I don't think it's latent because we can only call it that
> when it has the capacity to rapidly and unexpectedly start to replicate
> (and that mostly happens only after insertion into the host genome).
So...some mycoplasmas / spiroplasmas are also not living, as they
can also not do anything outside a living host cell? This is all a
matter of degree; viruses are indubitably "alive" when ensconced
firmly inside cells, in that they direct cell metabolism to some
extent, and cause synthesis of specific materials whcih are then
used to build specialised particles that transmit the virus. Like
seeds...and if anyone tells me seeds are measurably alive when they
can remain dormant for up to several decades, I will eat my favourite
Ed Rybicki, PhD
Dept Microbiology | ed at molbiol.uct.ac.za
University of Cape Town | rybicki at uctvms.uct.ac.za
Private Bag, Rondebosch | phone: x27-21-650-3265
7700, South Africa | fax: x27-21-689 7573
WWW URL: http://www.uct.ac.za/microbiology/ed.html
"Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time..."