The influenza virus’s hemagglutinin (HA) surface proteins then bind to the sialic acid receptors on the surface of a human respiratory tract cell. The structure of the influenza virus’s HA surface proteins is designed to fit the sialic acid receptors of the human cell, like a key to a lock. Once the key enters the lock, the influenza virus is then able to enter and infect the cell. This marks the beginning of a flu infection.
Please note, this version of the image does not contain headings, labels, or a text description. See PHIL 15326, for this image with its respective labeled, and PHIL 15327, for both its labels and accompanying text. The cut-out box shows a close-up view of how an influenza virus’s HA surface protein binds to a sialic acid on the surface of a human respiratory tract cell.
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