SOME NOTES ON HIV:
HIV is a retrovirus, which means that it converts its RNA genome into DNA in the cell. It does this using the enzyme reverse transcriptase. The DNA version of the viral genome enters the nucleus of the cell where it integrates (joins) with the DNA of the host cell. New RNA instructions and RNA genomes leave the nucleus. The RNA instructions (viral messenger RNA) direct the cell to produce viral proteins. These viral proteins and the viral genomic RNA assemble into new virus particles near the cell surface. These push out the cell surface (plasma membrane) and bud from the cell. As they bud, the virus particles become cloaked in cell membrane and so are known as enveloped viruses. The released virus particles can now land and dock with other cells that have the appropriate receptors on their plasma membranes. When an HIV particle lands on a suitable cell, its envelope joins the plasma membrane of the cell. The matrix proteins and the viral core are thrust into the interior (cytoplasm) of the cell and the viral RNA is transcribed into viral DNA and so the life cycle repeats.