The discovery of human retroviruses in the early 1980s revealed the existence of viral-encoded non-structural genes that were not evident in previously described animal retroviruses. Based on the absence or presence of these additional genes retroviruses were classified as 'simple' and 'complex', respectively. Expression of most of these extra genes is achieved through the generation of alternatively spliced mRNAs. The present review summarizes the genetic organization and expression strategies of human complex retroviruses and highlights the converging mechanisms controlling their life cycles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases