From Inspire
Retrovirus Biology Immunology


An animation which simulates infection and replication mechanisms in a retrovirus.

You may pause and watch the animation step by step.


You may use it to:

  • Identify the critical phases of the process
  • Analyse the possibility for drugs to act upon the process
  • Prepare a presentation for the class

Learning object available in:


Terms you need to know:

Retroviruses are RNA viruses that infect animal cells; the HIV virus belongs to this class of virus
Infection begins when viral envelope proteins bind to receptors.
The viral membrane fuses with the cell membrane and releases the RNA genome and associated proteins into the cytoplasm.
One of the viral proteins is a DNA polymerase called reverse transcriptase.
Reverse transcriptase copies the RNA genome into a single-stranded and then a double-stranded DNA.
The viral DNA is transported into the nucleus and inserts into the host cell DNA.
The integrated proviral DNA directs the synthesis of RNA copies of the viral genome.
The transcribed RNA serves both as mRNA to encode viral proteins and as genomic RNA for the next generation of viruses.
The pol gene, not shown, encodes the reverse transcriptase and integrase proteins. The gag protein packages the genomic RNA and pol proteins in a viral shell, called a nucleocapsid.
The envelope proteins are synthesized in the ER from a spliced viral RNA transcript.
After processing in the Golgi, the envelope proteins and the host cell membrane combine with the virus particle.
Newly formed virions bud from the cell surface. The cell lyses and liberates hundreds of infectious viruses into the host organism.

Additional information:

type: animation
format: flash
Permission to(1):
download: no?
modify: no?
Further permissions:
Age group(2): 17-21


(1) For personal, non-commercial use. To read the complete "Terms of use" of this learning object, please follow the link given in "Further permissions".

(2) Suggested age group. The learning object may be used by the Teachers with students of any age.