Long terminal repeat

Long Terminal Repeat

Long terminal repeat

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Long terminal repeats (LTRs) are sequences of DNA that repeat hundreds or thousands of times. They are found in retroviral DNA and in retrotransposons, flanking functional genes. They are used by viruses to insert their genetic sequences into the host genomes.


For example, a retrovirus genome might contain the following features:

LTR -- PBS -- PSI -- ''gag'' -- ''pol'' -- ''env'' -- LTR


The LTRs are partially transcribed into an RNA intermediate, followed by reverse transcription into complementary DNA (cDNA) and ultimately dsDNA (double-stranded DNA) with full LTRs. The LTRs then mediate integration of the retroviral DNA via an LTR specific integrase into another region of the host chromosome.

Retroviruses such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) use this basic mechanism.

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