Cell Biology

First Moves

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Science  22 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5598, pp. 1519
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5598.1519c

Retroviruses, like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), bind to receptors on the cell surface and are released into the cytoplasm after fusion of the viral envelope with cellular membranes. Once in the cytoplasm, the virus must convert its RNA genome into DNA by reverse transcription, before integration into the host cell DNA and subsequent generation of new viral RNA. In order to examine the very early stages of infection of HIV, McDonald et al. fluorescently tagged virions and tracked them after entry into living cells. Within 2 hours of entry, the viral particles had been transported toward the cell nucleus along microtubules by the molecular motor dynein. Further analysis confirmed that, once in the perinuclear region (in the vicinity of the microtubule organizing center), the virus became associated with reverse transcription complexes (RTCs), some of which still appeared to contain intact viral capsids. — SMH

J. Cell Biol.159, 441 (2002).

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