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Biology Definitions

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Icosehedral SymmetryAn icosahedron is a solid with twenty faces, each of which is an equilateral triangle. Some virologists believe that Icosehedral Symmetry is the most efficient way to build a shell with the fewest number of components (genetic economy). In most cases, viruses with icosehedral shells are self-assembling; once the proteins are expressed, they automatically assemble into an icosehedran.Protein Shell, Virus Structure
ICTVInternational Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The ICTV is the organization that is responsible for the classification of viruses.Linnaean Classification (Taxonomy), Virus Classification, Species
IgGA "class" of Immunoglobulins (antibodies). The "constant region" of these antibodies cause these antibodies to be secreted by B Cells (more specifically, Plasma Cells). The cells that secrete IgG are the daughters of cells that display IgM on their surface, having undergone "class switching".IgM, Class Switching, B Cell, Antigen, Antibody
IgMA "class" of Immunoglobulins (antibodies). The "constant region" of these antibodies act as a kind of "growth receptor" on the surface of B Cells, waiting to bind to its antigen and then sending a grow and divide signal to the B Cell.Class Switching, B Cell, Antigen, Antibody
Immature mRNAMessenger RNA in a eukaryotic cell that has not yet been spliced. Eukaryotic cells don't always use the entire gene. Sometimes, they cut out parts of the immature RNA molecule, and splice the remaining parts together.RNA, Transcription
Immune ToleranceThe mechanism by which the immune system tolerates (ignores) native antigens, but is intollerant of (attacks) foreign antigens. Breakdowns in immune tolerance can result in various autoimmune diseases.Autoimmune Disease, Antibody, Antigen, B Cell
ImmunoglobulinAn immunoglobulin is one of the immune system's mechanisms for disabling foreign invaders (viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc.) An immunoglobulin is a protein, created by a B Cell, which binds to an antigen, thus disabling the adverse effects of the antigen. Immunoglobulins are also refered to as Antibodies.B Cell, antigen, virus, bacteria, parasite
ImmunologyThe study of the immune system, including the study of antigens, antibodies, immune system disorders, immunization, innate and acquired immunity, and organ transplantation.Antibody, Antigen
ImportinA protein that binds to and carries another protein from the cytoplasm to the nucleus, thus importing the protein into the nucleus. The importin carries its cargo protein through a large pore in the nucleus which is called the Nuclear Pore Complex. No energy is required to bring the Importin and its bound protein into the nucleus, but the hydrolysis of GTP is required to get the Importin back into the cytoplasm.Nucleus, Protein, Nuclear Pore Complex
In Vitro"In Glass". A biological experiment that is performed in a test tube or in culture. The opposite of "in vivo" (in a living organism).In Vivo
In VivoAn "in vivo" experiment is one which is performed in a living organism. The opposite of "in vitro".In Vitro
Incomplete PenetranceIf less than 100% of individuals with a particular genotype have the associated phenotype, then we say there is incomplete penetrance. For example, a certain mutation that causes cancer may only cause cancer in 70% (and not 100%) of individuals who have the mutation. Individuals who do not show the phenotype are referred to as "cryptic".Genotype, Phenotype, Autosomal Dominant, Autosomal Recessive, Cryptic
Index CaseWhen a geneticist creates a pedigree (family tree) to study the inheritance of a particular disease (phenotype), the "index case" is the person for whom the pedigree is being created. The person who came to clinical attention. Also known as the "Proband"Pedigree, Genetics, Phenotype
Initiator CodonAUG. Translation (converting RNA into Protein) begins when the following bases are found in order: Adenine (A), Uracil (U), and Guanine (G). It encodes a Methionine (an Amino Acid).Translation, Codon
IntegraseA protein carried by Retroviruses which "integrates" the provirus (viral DNA produced from viral RNA and reverse transcriptase) into the host's chromosome, so that the cell will then produce viral proteins and the viral RNA genome which can then be combined to produce more virions.Virus, Provirus, Retrovirus
IntegrationWhen an RNA virus infects a cell, it creates a provirus (by using Reverse Transcriptase to create DNA from the RNA strand), and then "integrates" the provirus into the cell's chromosome. "Integration" also indicates that the provirus has been covalently linked to one of the cell's chromosomes.Provirus
InterphaseDescribes all phases of the Cell Cycle Phases which are not included in the Mitosis Phase. Interphase includes the G1, G2 (gap phases), and S (Synthesis) phases.Cell Cycle Phases
IntronIn DNA, the introns are base pairs that are not transcribed into RNA (only exons are transcribed). In mRNA, the introns are sequences that are cut out of the immature mRNA (only exons appear in the mature mRNA) Eukaryotes have introns, but Bacteria do not. In general, bigger Euikaryotes have bigger intron sections. Note that Eukaryotic viruses can have introns, while Prokaryotic viruses do not have introns.Eukaryote, mRNA, RNA Splicing
IonAn atom or group of atoms with a net positive or negative charge, resulting from the fact that the number of electrons does not equal the number of protons. 
Ionic BondA chemical bond formed by the attraction of two ions with opposite charge. Ionic bonds are generally not as strong as covalent bonds, but are stronger than Hydrogen bonds and Van der Waal's forces. Ion, Covalent bond, Van Der Waal's Forces
IPTGSubstance used for investigating the Lac Operon. IPTG fools the Lac Operon regulatory system into thinking that Lactose has entered the cell because IPTG is similar to Lactose, although it cannot be broken down into Beta-Galactosidase the way Lactose can. This enabled biochemists to study the Lac Operon with a substance that induced the Lac Operon, but was not a substrate for the Lac Operon (Lactose is both an inducer and substrate of the Lac Operon).Lac Operon, XGAL
IressaA drug used to treat some types of lung cancers. It is a Tyrosine Kinase inhibitor, inhibiting the Tyrosine Kinase domains of EGF receptors. When two EGF receptors are brought together by a dimer ligand, their adjacent Tyrosine Kinase domains phosphorolate each other, creating docking stations for other proteins in the biochemical pathway that tells the cell to grow and divide. Iressa blocks the actions of these Tyrosine Kinase domains, inhibiting the growth and division of cancerous cells with mutated EGF receptors that fire constitutively.Cancer, Tyrosine Kinase, Growth Receptor
IsolatesThe cell often makes mistakes when tricked into copying the genome of a virus. Many of the resulting mutated virions are still viable members of the virus species. Because any two viruses of the same viral species can differ in their genome (and phenotype), we refer to individual samples of viruses as "isolates".Species, Virus, Virus Classification, Linnaean Classification (Taxonomy)

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