Retroviral Protease: Substrate Specificity and Inhibitors
Protease activity is involved in particle formation and/or the maturation process of various virus systems: structural and/or envelope proteins are synthesized as polyprotein precursors and assembled to form immature particles. Those precursors are processed into functional components by proteinases. This type of assembly may be more accurate and economical than a system where particles are formed by assembling separate proteins with distinct properties, affinities and functions. Viruses of picorna-, toga-, flavi-, adeno-, and retrovirus families have specific proteinases, that is, their viral genomes encode proteinases. The enzymes work as a processing enzyme which cleaves viral polyprotein precursors into mature components. The precursor processing is essential for production of biologically active virus particles (Klausslich and Wimmer, 1988).
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