HIV Reverse Transcription and AZT
This activity allows students to model how the anti-HIV drug AZT (azidothymidine) interferes with the process of viral replication.
This hands-on activity is part of a series of activities and demonstrations focusing on various aspects of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) life cycle. Students will first model reverse transcription, the process that results in the production of a double-stranded DNA copy of the HIV single-stranded RNA genome. Using an actual HIV RNA sequence as a template, students will model the synthesis of a complementary strand of DNA by attaching nucleotides to one another. Then, students will substitute AZT in place of thymidine. When AZT is incorporated in a growing DNA sequence it prevents further nucleotides from being added, thereby blocking the production of HIV DNA.
The “Card Images” ZIP file contains individual image files for the cards used in this activity that can be used in the classroom, particularly in online courses. A document within the ZIP file contains suggestions for their use. These card images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CCC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. We would ask that you attribute these to BioInteractive and not use them for commercial purposes.
Student Learning Targets
Demonstrate the process of reverse transcription starting with an RNA sequence.
Identify structural similarities and differences between AZT and thymidine.
Model how AZT inhibits DNA synthesis.
adaptation, convergent evolution, ecological niche, ecomorph, evolution, phylogenetic tree
The resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. No rights are granted to use HHMI’s or BioInteractive’s names or logos independent from this Resource or in any derivative works.
HS-LS1-1, HS-LS3-1; SEP2
AP Biology (2019)
IST-1.A, IST1.L, IST-1.M, IST-1.N, IST-1.O; SP2
IB Biology (2016)
2.7, 6.3, 7.2
Common Core (2010)
Vision and Change (2009)
CC2, CC3; DP3