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Reviving an Old HIV-1 Gene: The HIV-1 Antisense Protein

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 2 ]


Cynthia Torresilla, Jean-Michel Mesnard and Benoit Barbeau   Pages 117 - 124 ( 8 )


The existence of an HIV-1 protein translated from an antisense transcript was suggested over 25 years ago. However, this Antisense Protein (ASP) gene has still not been completely accepted by the HIV-1 research community. The aim of this review is to discuss recent findings, which suggest that ASP needs to be considered as a viral gene, playing an important role in HIV-1 replication and persistence. In past years, several studies have highlighted the existence of HIV-1 antisense transcripts. More recently, we and others have convincingly demonstrated that this transcript produces a protein with a unique distribution and a rapid turnover, when expressed in mammalian cells. Furthermore, a role in autophagy and HIV-1 replication has been associated with this protein. In light of these recent reports, we believe that ASP needs to be added to the schematic representation of the HIV-1 proviral DNA and requires further investigation, as it could represent a new potential target for anti-retroviral therapies and vaccine strategies.


Antisense Protein, Antisense transcription, Autophagy, HIV-1.


Departement des sciences biologiques, Universite du Quebec a Montreal, SB-R860, 2080 St-Urbain, Montreal (Quebec), H2X 3X8, Canada.

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