Viral gene products and replication of the human immunodeficiency type 1 virus

Academic Article


  • The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic represents a modern-day plague that has not only resulted in a tragic loss of people from a wide spectrum of society but has reshaped our viewpoints regarding health care, the treatment of infectious diseases, and social issues regarding sexual behavior. There is little doubt now that the cause of the disease AIDS is a virus known as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The HIV virus is a member of a large family of viruses termed retroviruses, which have as a hallmark the capacity to convert their RNA genome into a DNA form that then undergoes a process of integration into the host cell chromosome, followed by the expression of the viral genome and translation of viral proteins in the infected cell. This review describes the organization of the HIV-1 viral genome, the expression of viral proteins, as well as the functions of the accessory viral proteins in HIV replication. The replication of the viral genome is divided into two phases, the early phase and the late phase. The early phase consists of the interaction of the virus with the cell surface receptor (CD4 molecule in most cases), the uncoating and conversion of the viral RNA genome into a DNA form, and the integration into the host cell chromosome. The late phase consists of the expression of the viral proteins from the integrated viral genome, the translation of viral proteins, and the assembly and release of the virus. Points in the HIV-1 life cycle that are targets for therapeutic intervention are also discussed.
  • Author List

  • Morrow CD; Park J; Wakefield JK
  • Volume

  • 266
  • Issue

  • 5 35-5