Retroviruses produce full-length RNA that serves both as a genomic RNA (gRNA), which is encapsidated into virus particles, and as an mRNA, which directs the synthesis of viral structural proteins. However, we are only beginning to understand the cellular and viral factors that influence trafficking of retroviral RNA and the selection of the RNA for encapsidation or translation. Live cell imaging studies of retroviral RNA trafficking have provided important insight into many aspects of the retrovirus life cycle including transcription dynamics, nuclear export of viral RNA, translational regulation, membrane targeting, and condensation of the gRNA during virion assembly. Here, we review cutting-edge techniques to visualize single RNA molecules in live cells and discuss the application of these systems to studying retroviral RNA trafficking.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases