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HIV-1 gene expression: lessons from provirus and non-integrated DNA

Yuntao Wu

Author Affiliations

Center for Biodefense, Department of Molecular and Microbiology, George Mason University, Manassas, VA 20110, USA

Retrovirology 2004, 1:13  doi:10.1186/1742-4690-1-13

Published: 25 June 2004


Replication of HIV-1 involves a series of obligatory steps such as reverse transcription of the viral RNA genome into double-stranded DNA, and subsequent integration of the DNA into the human chromatin. Integration is an essential step for HIV-1 replication; yet the natural process of HIV-1 infection generates both integrated and high levels of non-integrated DNA. Although proviral DNA is the template for productive viral replication, the non-integrated DNA has been suggested to be active for limited viral gene synthesis. In this review, the regulation of viral gene expression from proviral DNA will be summarized and issues relating to non-integrated DNA as a template for transcription will be discussed, as will the possible function of pre-integration transcription in HIV-1 replication cycle.