Turkish Journal of Biology

Human Immunodeficiency Virus and its Genetic




The etiologic agent of AIDS is human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which belongs to the family of human retroviruses and the subfamily of lentiviruses. The HIV genome is small (approximately 10 kilobases), and its prototypical organization comprises three genes: gag, which encodes the proteins that form the virion core; pol, which encodes the enzymes responsible for reverse transcription and integration; and env, which encodes the envelope glycoproteins. It also contains at least six other genes (tat, rev, nef, vif, vpr, and vpu) that encode proteins involved in the regulation of HIV expression. The hallmark of the life cycle of HIV infection is the reverse transcription of genomic RNA to DNA by an enzyme called reverse transcriptase (RT). The high error rate of RT is responsible for the genetic diversity of the virus. The structure, biology and genomic organization of HIV are reviewed in this article with recent molecular data.


Retroviruses, Human immunodeficiency virus, Genetics

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