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V domains  The N-terminal domains of antibody heavy and light chains and the α, β, γ and δ chains of the T-cell receptor; they become recombined with appropriate sets of D and J genes during lymphocyte ontogeny.

Vmax  Parameter that describes the maximal velocity of an enzyme-catalyzed reaction or other process such as protein-mediated transport of molecules across a membrane.

Valency  Numerical measure of the capacity of an atom, ion, or molecule to combine. In proteins that bind specific ligands, the number of binding sites is equivalent to the valency.

van der Waals interaction (Hydrophobic interaction)  A weak noncovalent attraction due to small, transient asymmetric electron distributions around atoms (dipoles). These interactions are particularly important in stabilizing the binding between sites on different molecules with complementary shapes (e.g., enzyme and its substrate; antigen and antibody).

Variant A cell line expressing a stable phenotype that is different from the parental culture from which it was derived.

Vasopressin  Peptide hormone synthesized in hypothalamus and released from posterior pituitary that increases water permeability of kidneys’ collecting ducts. It is also called anti-diuretic hormone (ADH).

Vector A DNA molecule, capable of replication in a host organism, into which a gene is inserted to construct a recombinant DNA molecule.

Vehicle Often used as a substitute for the word ‘vector’, emphasizing that the vector transports the inserted gene through the cloning experiment.

Vena cava  (pl. venae cavae) One of two large veins that returns systemic blood to heart. Superior vena cava and inferior vena cava.

Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)  Lipid-protein aggregate having high proportion of fat.

Viral transformation A permanent phenotypic change induced by the genetic and geritable effects of a transforming virus.

Virion  An individual viral particle.

Virus  A small parasite consisting of nucleic acid (RNA or DNA) enclosed in a protein coat (capsid) that can replicate only within a susceptible host cell. Bacterial viruses exhibit either a lytic cycle or lysogenic cycle of growth. Viruses are widely used in cell biology research.

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