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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2005 Aug;3(8):643-55.

How retroviruses select their genomes.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, Maryland 21250, USA.


As retroviruses assemble in infected cells, two copies of their full-length, unspliced RNA genomes are selected for packaging from a cellular milieu that contains a substantial excess of non-viral and spliced viral RNAs. Understanding the molecular details of genome packaging is important for the development of new antiviral strategies and to enhance the efficacy of retroviral vectors used in human gene therapy. Recent studies of viral RNA structure in vitro and in vivo and high-resolution studies of RNA fragments and protein-RNA complexes are helping to unravel the mechanism of genome packaging and providing the first glimpses of the initial stages of retrovirus assembly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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