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Traffic. 2006 Nov;7(11):1440-50. Epub 2006 Sep 19.

Retrovirus RNA trafficking: from chromatin to invasive genomes.

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1
Department of Infectious Diseases, King's College London School of Medicine, 2nd Floor New Guy's House, Guy's Hospital, London Bridge, London, SE1 9RT, UK.

Abstract

Full-length retroviral RNA has three well-established functions: it constitutes the genomic RNA that is packaged into virions and is transmitted to target cells by infection, it is the messenger RNA (mRNA) template for viral Gag and Pol protein synthesis and it serves as the pre-mRNA for the production of subgenomic spliced mRNAs that encode additional viral proteins such as Env. More recent work indicates that these full-length RNAs also play important roles in the assembly of virus particles, not only as a structural scaffold that facilitates viral core formation but also as a potential regulator of the assembly process itself. Here, we discuss how these assorted activities may be coupled with each other, paying particular attention to the importance of RNA trafficking and subcellular localization in the cytoplasm, possible points of regulation, and the role(s) played by cellular RNA-binding proteins.

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