New insight on the role of extrachromosomal retroviral DNA

Leukemia. 1997 Sep;11(9):1395-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.leu.2400776.


During infection with different retroviruses, high levels of unintegrated extrachromosomal DNA accumulate in infected cells. While extrachromosomal linear DNA is the immediate precursor of the integrated provirus, the function, if any, of extrachromosomal circular DNA has been unclear. Several groups have attempted to address the possible function, activity, and importance of this unintegrated DNA during the life cycle of retroviruses and the course of retroviral-associated diseases. This review summarizes recent work in this field and tries to analyze some aspects of extrachromosomal forms of retroviral DNA and their possible application as a molecular biological tool.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Circular / physiology*
  • DNA, Viral / physiology*
  • Extrachromosomal Inheritance
  • Humans
  • Retroviridae / genetics*
  • Retroviridae Infections / virology
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Virus Replication*


  • DNA, Circular
  • DNA, Viral