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4. General Transcription and Proteins encoded from Spliced mRNA of Retroviruses.

Transcription proceeds through the genome and mRNA is polyadenylated and processed using signals in transcribed regions from the 3' LTR at the end of the transcribed R. The full-length message can be spliced to lead to production of envelope proteins (or other proteins depending upon retroviral class). Unspliced full-length mRNA can give rise to gag-pol proteins. Gag and Pol are made as either Gag protein or a Gag-Pol precursor. A viral protease cleaves the precursor into multiple subunits with varying functions. The Env protein is also translated as a precursor which is cleaved by endogenous proteases to yield the mature surface glycoprotein (see below).

Translated proteins assemble a retroviral particle at the cell surface. Full-length genomic unspliced mRNA (containing a packaging signal termed Psi) is bound by gag-derived proteins and incorporated into the budding particle.




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