The Molecules of HIV

Note: this site last updated in 2006

assembly, budding, and maturation

An article from "The Molecules of HIV" (c) Dan Stowell
Depiction of virus budding

New viral core complexes are assembled inside the host cell, just underneath the cell surface.

When assembled, these viruses bud off from the host cell. Effectively, they rip themselves off from the rest of the cell, taking a piece of the cell membrane with them to form their own viral membranes.

At some point during this part of the HIV life cycle, the viral protease cleaves gag and gag-pol">gag-pol precursor proteins to form the proper HIV protein products. This is part of maturation - an "immature" virus turning into a "mature" virus with a properly-formed viral core.

The newly-produced HIV virus particle is now free to go on and infect another cell, and the HIV life cycle can begin again....

An interesting discovery about HIV budding is that it seems to require a protein made in human cells called Tsg101 - so perhaps this part of the cycle can be halted by taking away Tsg101. More information:

Written by
Dan Stowell

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