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AIDS Res Ther. 2013 Dec 13;10(1):31. doi: 10.1186/1742-6405-10-31.

Putting an 'End' to HIV mRNAs: capping and polyadenylation as potential therapeutic targets.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, 80523 Fort Collins, CO, USA.


Like most cellular mRNAs, the 5' end of HIV mRNAs is capped and the 3' end matured by the process of polyadenylation. There are, however, several rather unique and interesting aspects of these post-transcriptional processes on HIV transcripts. Capping of the highly structured 5' end of HIV mRNAs is influenced by the viral TAT protein and a population of HIV mRNAs contains a trimethyl-G cap reminiscent of U snRNAs involved in splicing. HIV polyadenylation involves active repression of a promoter-proximal polyadenylation signal, auxiliary upstream regulatory elements and moonlighting polyadenylation factors that have additional impacts on HIV biology outside of the constraints of classical mRNA 3' end formation. This review describes these post-transcriptional novelties of HIV gene expression as well as their implications in viral biology and as possible targets for therapeutic intervention.

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