HIV Life Cycle
This animation shows how HIV infects a cell and replicates itself using reverse transcriptase.
HIV is a retrovirus that infects a type of immune system cell called a helper T cell. As shown in the animation, HIV binds to receptors on its host cell’s surface and fuses with the cell membrane to deposit its genetic material and viral proteins into the cell. One viral protein, the enzyme reverse transcriptase, converts HIV’s RNA genome into DNA. The viral DNA is then integrated into the host cell’s chromosomes, tricking the cell into making many copies of HIV that can infect other cells.
This animation is a clip from a 2007 Holiday Lecture Series, AIDS: Evolution of an Epidemic. Depending on students’ background, it may be helpful to pause the animation at various points to discuss different structures or steps in the life cycle of HIV.
CD4 receptor, chemokine coreceptor (CCR5), helper T cell, infection, integrase, retrovirus, reverse transcriptase, RNA genome