Retroviruses have a very complex and tightly controlled life cycle which has been studied intensely for decades. After a virus enters the cell, it reverse-transcribes its genome, which is then integrated into the host genome, and subsequently all structural and regulatory proteins are transcribed and translated. The proteins, along with the viral genome, assemble into a new virion, which buds off the host cell and matures into a newly infectious virion. If any one of these steps are faulty, the virus cannot produce infectious viral progeny. Recent advances in structural and molecular techniques have made it possible to better understand this class of viruses, including details about how they regulate and coordinate the different steps of the virus life cycle. In this review we summarize the molecular analysis of the assembly and maturation steps of the life cycle by providing an overview on structural and biochemical studies to understand these processes. We also outline the differences between various retrovirus families with regards to these processes.
HIV-1, assembly, capsid, cryoEM, cryoET, maturation, retroviruses, structure