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A Molecular View of HIV Therapy

After HIV enters a T-cell, three enzymes play essential roles in the life cycle of the virus. Reverse transcriptase copies the viral RNA genome and makes a DNA copy. Integrase inserts this viral DNA into the cell’s DNA. In the last steps of the viral life cycle, HIV protease cuts HIV proteins into their functional parts. Current antiretroviral drugs target these three enzymes, hindering the virus reproduction. However, enzymes can mutate and become drug resistant, making it vital to use a combination of different drugs that target multiple enzymes. This animation was created using many PDB entries for Reverse Transcriptase (3hvt, 3dlk, 3v6d, 3v4i, 3klg, 3v81), Integrase (3os1, 3os0, 3oya), Protease (3pj6, 1kj4, 1hxb, 2az9, 2azc), HIV Polyprotein (1l6n), Capsid Protein (2m8l), and Matrix Protein (1tam).