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Biomedical Reviews

HIV-1 infection of cells and AIDS progression

Dimiter S. Dimitrov


HIV-1, the etiological agent of AIDS, enters cells within minutes after binding to a receptor molecule, fusing its membrane with the cell membrane and uncoating its envelope to deliver the RNA-protein complex into the cell cytoplasm. The infection cycle then proceeds for hours to days through a series of steps, including reverse transcription of the viral RNA, integration of the resulting DNA into the cellular genome, transcription of the proviral DNA, expression of virus proteins, their assembly and virus budding, leading to production of progeny virions. Virus spread by subsequent cycles of infection occurs within weeks and months, while AIDS develops after years or even decades. This review discusses the causes of this diversity in kinetics, emphasizing the importance of quantitation, and how quantitation of infection kinetics may help in understanding the factors that affect the disease progression.

Biomedical Reviews 1993; 2: 1-8.

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About The Author

Dimiter S. Dimitrov
National Institutes of Health of Bethesda
United States

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