Introduction. Retroviruses synthesize a DNA copy of their genome by reverse transcription. This genome is found integrated into the chromosomal DNA of a cell shortly after infection. The integrated viral DNA is termed a provirus and serves as a template for the synthesis of viral mRNA and progeny virion RNA. An important control point in this infectious cycle occurs at the level of the transcriptional regulation of the provirus. The expression of the provirus may be controlled by a variety of regulatory mechanisms and this control is the subject of the present review. Since the molecular mechanisms of this regulation are not well understood, this review is largely confined to surveying the phenomena of regulation.

Regulation of transcription of endogenous proviruses. The most striking and illustrative examples of transcriptional control of proviruses derive from those retrovirus genomes which are carried as genetic determinants in the germ lines of many vertebrates.


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