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