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Viruses. 2011 Jun;3(6):770-93. doi: 10.3390/v3060770. Epub 2011 Jun 14.

New insights into HTLV-1 particle structure, assembly, and Gag-Gag interactions in living cells.

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  • 1Institute for Molecular Virology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) has a reputation for being extremely difficult to study in cell culture. The challenges in propagating HTLV-1 has prevented a rigorous analysis of how these viruses replicate in cells, including the detailed steps involved in virus assembly. The details for how retrovirus particle assembly occurs are poorly understood, even for other more tractable retroviral systems. Recent studies on HTLV-1 using state-of-the-art cryo-electron microscopy and fluorescence-based biophysical approaches explored questions related to HTLV-1 particle size, Gag stoichiometry in virions, and Gag-Gag interactions in living cells. These results provided new and exciting insights into fundamental aspects of HTLV-1 particle assembly-which are distinct from those of other retroviruses, including HIV-1. The application of these and other novel biophysical approaches promise to provide exciting new insights into HTLV-1 replication.


deltaretrovirus; fluorescence; lentivirus; spectroscopy; tomography

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