Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is it impossible for retroviruses to be lysogenic? In the lysogenic cycle, the viral genetic material is incorporated into the host cell's DNA. Because retroviruses have RNA, it would be impossible for their genetic material to be incorporated into the host cell's DNA, unless the RNA is reverse-transcribed or something.

Is this the case? How does this work?

Thanks!

evamvid

share|improve this question
    
Sorry! I phrased the question completely wrong -- I managed to confuse myself with my own question! –  evamvid Mar 10 at 17:32
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Both things are not exclusive of each other. Retroviruses are RNA-based viruses which need to reverse transcribe their RNA genome into DNA before they can multiply. This is done by the reverse transcriptase enzyme, which is part of the virus and is incorporated into the cell.

Once the reverse transcriptase has been active and made the DNA, this DNA can also be incorporated into the hosts genome. If you look into the Wikipedia article on Bacteriophages, you will find a list of different bacteriophages, with all kind of genomes, among them as well a number of RNA-based viruses.

RNA-based viruses which enter the lysogenic pathway are obviously either pretty rare or they haven't been discovered yet in bigger numbers. Two examples are the phages F2 and MS2 (which are closely related).

share|improve this answer
    
Are there any RNA phages that exhibit lysogeny? –  Alan Boyd Mar 10 at 12:55
    
Yes, there are a few. I added two references. –  Chris Mar 10 at 13:35
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.