Translational suppression in retroviral gene expression

Adv Virus Res. 1992;41:193-239. doi: 10.1016/s0065-3527(08)60037-8.


This chapter summarizes the present state of knowledge concerning translational suppression in retroviruses. Other viruses, using similar mechanisms, are mentioned only briefly and tangentially. Retroviruses are a unique class of viruses that have been found in all classes of vertebrates but not in other organisms. Perhaps, their most distinctive properties are the flow of information from RNA to DNA early in the infectious process, and the subsequent integration of the viral DNA into the chromosomal DNA of the host cell. Retroviruses are the causative agents of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and of a variety of neoplastic diseases in man and domestic animals. Elements with striking similarities to retroviruses, termed retrotransposons, occur in yeast and many other eukaryotes; elements sharing some characteristics with retroviruses have also recently been observed in prokaryotes. Because of the apparent relationship between retroviruses and retrotransposons, this chapter discusses of retrotransposons as well as retroviruses. Though all retroviruses utilize translational suppression in pol-protein synthesis, different groups of retroviruses use two completely distinct types of translational suppression. One of these is in-frame or readthrough suppression and the other is ribosomal frameshifting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Biosynthesis / physiology*
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Retroviridae / genetics*
  • Viral Proteins / genetics


  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins