Reverse Transcription

To allow HIV’s genetic code to join the host cell’s DNA, a double stranded DNA replica of the original RNA template is produced.

For HIV genes to get into the host cell's DNA, the viral RNA has first to be converted to DNA. Reverse transcriptase produces a single strand of DNA from the viral RNA, while RNAse-H breaks down the RNA once it has been copied. Reverse transcriptase also acts as a DNA polymerase, producing a partner strand of DNA to match the initial single strand. The result is a double-stranded DNA replica of the original RNA template.