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Viruses, lytic vs lysogenic

  1. Aug 19, 2011 #1
    I understand the difference between the two cycles. However, I was curious to know whether a virus can go back and forth between the two. For example, a virus inserts its dna into a host cell, and begins the lysogenic cycle. And of course it can switch from lysogenic to lytic. But, once the cell bursts, can those newly created viruses infect and only perform the lytic cycle, or can they become dormant again and go through the lysogenic cycle?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 21, 2011 #2


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    Yes, is the answer to your question. Often it depends upon what cell type the virus is in. Herpes for example wants to "live" (latent infections) in neurons, though to spread itself from host to host needs to become lytic in epithelial cells. Of course some of those virons created from the lytic part of their replication cycle can infect uninfected neurons in the original host as well.

    In fact the whole herpes family of viruses is a good example of this. Varicella (chicken pox) is another herpes virus which does something similar causing Shingles the second time around.
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