When is It Time for Reverse Transcription to Start and Go?

Marylène Mougel; Laurent Houzet; Jean-Luc Darlix


Retrovirology. 2009;6:24 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Upon cell infection by a retrovirus, the viral DNA polymerase, called reverse transcriptase (RT), copies the genomic RNA to generate the proviral DNA flanked by two long terminal repeats (LTR). A discovery twenty years ago demonstrated that the structural viral nucleocapsid protein (NC) encoded by Gag is an essential cofactor of reverse transcription, chaperoning RT during viral DNA synthesis. However, it is only recently that NC was found to exert a control on the timing of reverse transcription, in a spatio-temporal manner. This brief review summarizes findings on the timing of reverse transcription in wild type HIV-1 and in nucleopcapsid (NC) mutants where virions contain a large amount of newly made viral DNA. This brief review also proposes some explanations of how NC may control late reverse transcription during Gag assembly in virus producer cells.


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