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Retrovirus

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Retroviruses

Template:Taxobox begin placement virus Template:Taxobox group vi entry

Family:Retroviridae

|- style="text-align:center; background:violet;" !Genera |- | style="padding: 0 .5em;" | Alpharetrovirus
Betaretrovirus
Gammaretrovirus
Deltaretrovirus
Epsilonretrovirus
Lentivirus
Spumavirus |} A retrovirus is a virus which has a genome consisting of two plus sense RNA molecules, which may or may not be identical. It relies on reverse transcriptase to perform the reverse transcription of its genome from RNA into DNA, which can then be integrated into the host's genome with an integrase . The virus itself is a storage form for its nucleic acid genome as well as a means of delivery of its genome into targeted cells, which constitute the infection. Once in the host's cell, the RNA strands undergo reverse transcription in the cytosol. Once integrated into the host's genome, the retroviral DNA, is then referred to as a provirus.

While transcription was classically thought to only occur from DNA to RNA, reverse transcriptase transcribes RNA into DNA. The term "retro" in retrovirus refers to this reversal of the central dogma of molecular biology. Reverse transcriptase activity outside of retroviruses has been found in almost all eukaryotes, enabling the generation and insertion of new copies of retrotransposons into the host genome.

Because reverse transcription is missing the usual "proofreading" of DNA transcription, this kind of virus mutates very often. This enables the virus to grow resistant to antiviral pharmaceuticals quickly, and is one of the main reasons why an effective vaccine for HIV has not been developed yet.

Among others, retrovirus genomes commonly contain three genes, that encode proteins that can be found back in the mature virus:

Four identified human retroviruses (HTLV 1&2, HIV 1&2) attack CD4 cells. Another feature common to all retroviruses is a lipid coating surrounding their capsid. It is essential for their propagation. This explains why retroviruses can be made inactive by just washing hands.

Studies of retroviruses led to the first demonstrated synthesis of DNA from RNA templates, a fundamental mode for transferring genetic material that occurs in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Certain groups speculate that the processes followed by retroviruses (that is, RNA>DNA>RNA>Protein) may be the key to the evolution of DNA; thus, that in the "primordial soup", retroviruses evolved to create DNA from the RNA templates, and it was subsequently adopted by cellular organisms due to the increased chemical stability of DNA.

The following genera are included here:

These were previously divided into three subfamilies (Oncovirinae, Lentivirinae, and Spumavirinae), but with our current knowledge of retroviruses, this is no longer appropriate.


See also

External links

da:Retrovirus de:Retrovirus es:Retrovirus fr:Rtrovirus la:Retrovirus hu:Retrovrus nl:Retrovirus ja:レトロウイルス pl:Retrowirus pt:Retrovrus fi:Retrovirus sv:Retrovirus zh:逆转录病毒

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