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RNA Biol. 2011 Mar-Apr;8(2):230-6. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

Requirements for efficient minus strand strong-stop DNA transfer in human immunodeficiency virus 1.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and the Center for RNA Biology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, USA.


After HIV-1 enters a human cell, its RNA genome is converted into double stranded DNA during the multistep process of reverse transcription. First (minus) strand DNA synthesis is initiated near the 5' end of the viral RNA, where only a short fragment of the genome is copied. In order to continue DNA synthesis the virus employs a complicated mechanism, which enables transferring of the growing minus strand DNA to a remote position at the genomic 3' end. This is called minus strand DNA transfer. The transfer enables regeneration of long terminal repeat sequences, which are crucial for viral genomic DNA integration into the host chromosome. Numerous factors have been identified that stimulate minus strand DNA transfer. In this review we focus on describing protein-RNA and RNA-RNA interactions, as well as RNA structural features, known to facilitate this step in reverse transcription.

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