Viral Reproduction Lytic Cycle

Contributor: Felicia Sabur. Lesson ID: 11643

Viruses are nasty little beings that destroy your cells. It's sickening. Literally. Discover through videos and articles what goes on when a virus invades your body and blows up your innocent cells!


Life Science

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Viruses are like little alien invaders. They invade a host cell, take it over, then destroy it in lytic cycle. Why are some viruses deadlier than others? A lot of it depends on what type of cells they attack, and their reproductive cycle. Yes, we'll tell you what a lytic cycle is!

There are two types of viral reproduction cycles.

Viruses reproduce using the lytic and lysogenic cycle. In this lesson, you will learn about the lytic cycle. Viruses that only reproduce using the lytic cycle are called virulent viruses.

During the lytic cycle, the host cell only replicates the virus's DNA / RNA, resulting in the destruction of the host cell and its membrane at the end of the cycle.

As you look at the figure below, you will see the five stages of the lytic cycle:

  1. Attachment
  2. Entry
  3. Replication
  4. Assembly
  5. Release

lytic cycle

Image by xxoverflowed, via flickr, is licensed under the CC BY 2.0 license.

You will need the Viruses and Bacteria Unit Workbook that you printed out in Lesson One before watching Viruses and the Lytic Cycle by Beverly Biology (below). You can also find this workbook in Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar. The video also reviews the information that you covered in Lesson Two. You can find both under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar. Fill out the Lesson Three Viral Production Lytic Cycle section. Pause the video whenever necessary to write down information:


Virulent viruses cause more symptoms, because when they release from the cell, they destroy it. This makes the immune system go into action, which in return causes symptoms like fever and runny nose.

When a virus injects its DNA / RNA into the cell, it completely takes it over and ONLY replicates more viruses in the lytic cycle. Discuss with your parent or teacher the details of each stage that you wrote down in your Viruses and Bacteria Unit Workbook for the lytic cycle on Page Four.

A virus cannot survive for long outside of a host, so it has to find a host cell quickly after being released.

In the Got It? section, you will follow along with your T2 virus model as it completes the lytic cycle.

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