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Replication mechanism of HIV

Aug 21, 2011

Dear Doctor Holodniy, I'll like to ask what is the mechanism of HIV's replication like? Specifically, for the HIV reverse transcriptase, does it convert single strand RNA template to a single strand DNA? If so, how does this single strand DNA get replicated to form a double stranded DNA so that it may be integrated into a host ds-DNA molecule? Thanks!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The HIV reverse transcriptase enzyme has reverse transcriptase activity that converts the viral HIV RNA to a single strand copy of HIV DNA as well as having DNA-dependent DNA polymerase activity that copies the single DNA strand into another DNA copy to form a double-stranded viral DNA intermediate that will be transported into the nucleus and integrated into the host cell DNA. The reverse transcriptase enzyme also has ribonuclease activity that degrades the viral RNA during the synthesis of DNA.

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