[Antiviral strategies in the replication of human immunodeficiency virus].

Abstract:

The replication cycle of any virus involves a number of steps, beginning with specific attachment to a cell surface receptor leading eventually to production of progeny viruses by infected cells. In the case of the immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1), the first step involves a specific interaction between the gp120 viral envelope surface protein and specific CD4 receptor sites at the cell surface. This is followed by penetration of the virus into cells and the formation of proviral double-stranded DNA from single-stranded viral RNA, a process mediated through the action of the viral enzyme called reverse transcriptase. This, in turn, leads to the migration of proviral DNA into the nucleus of the cell and the integration of such DNA within the host cell genome. Finally both viral RNA and viral proteins are produced by the cell's genetic apparatus and new viruses are assembled at the cell surface. The fact that integration of viral DNA into host cell chromosomes occurs means that any cellular replication event will be accompanied by replication of viral DNA. Each of these steps represents a potential target for anti-viral chemotherapy. To date, most efforts to treat HIV-associated disease have focused on the reverse transcription step. In this respect, zidovudine (AZT) has been the most widely used anti-viral drug studied. However, the relative toxicity and lack of efficiency of this drug means that our efforts to develop new therapeutic strategies to combat HIV infection must continue.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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