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HIV-1 RNAs: sense and antisense, large mRNAs and small siRNAs and miRNAs

Harwig, Alex; Das, Atze T.; Berkhout, Ben

Current Opinion in HIV & AIDS: March 2015 - Volume 10 - Issue 2 - p 103–109
doi: 10.1097/COH.0000000000000135
GENOMICS IN HIV INFECTION: Edited by Amalio Telenti
Editor's Choice

Purpose of review: This review summarizes recent findings concerning the ever-growing HIV-1 RNA population.

Recent findings: The retrovirus HIV-1 has an RNA genome that is converted into DNA and is integrated into the genome of the infected host cell. Transcription from the long terminal repeat-encoded promoter results in the production of a full-length genomic RNA and multiple spliced mRNAs. Recent experiments, mainly based on next-generation sequencing, provided evidence for several additional HIV-encoded RNAs, including antisense RNAs and virus-encoded microRNAs.

Summary: We will survey recent findings related to HIV-1 RNA biosynthesis, especially regulatory mechanisms that control initiation of transcription, capping and polyadenylation. We zoom in on the diversity of HIV-1 derived RNA transcripts, their mode of synthesis and proposed functions in the infected cell. Special attention is paid to the viral transacting responsive RNA hairpin motif that has been suggested to encode microRNAs.

Department of Medical Microbiology, Laboratory of Experimental Virology, Center for Infection and Immunity Amsterdam (CINIMA), Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 15, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Correspondence to Ben Berkhout, Department of Medical Microbiology, Laboratory of Experimental Virology, Center for Infection and Immunity Amsterdam (CINIMA), Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 15, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 205664853; e-mail: b.berkhout@amc.uva.nl

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