LEONARD LESSIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LEONARD LESSIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Reverse transcriptase. Computer model of the retrovirus enzyme reverse transcriptase. The enzyme is shown as two interacting strips of protein (red and blue). Reverse transcriptase is used by retroviruses in infected cells to build double-stranded DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecules from the virus' own single-stranded RNA (ribonucleic acid). In this way they instruct the infected cell to form more viruses. Research into reverse transcriptase structure and activity could prevent retroviral infection. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus which causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), is an example of an RNA retrovirus.
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