Retroviruses are obligate intracellular parasites of eukaryotic cells. After reverse transcription, the viral DNA contained in the preintegration complex is delivered to the nucleus of the host cell, where it integrates. Before reaching the nucleus, the incoming particle and the preintegration complex must travel throughout the cytoplasm. Likewise, the newly synthesized viral proteins and viral particles must transit the cytoplasm during exit. The cytoplasm is a crowded environment, and simple diffusion is difficult. Therefore, viruses have evolved to utilize the cellular mechanisms of movement through the cytoplasm, where microtubules are the roads, and the ATP-dependent motors dynein and kinesin are the vehicles for retrograde and anterograde trafficking. This review will focus on how different retroviruses (Mazon-Pfizer monkey virus, prototype foamy virus, bovine immunodeficiency virus, human immunodeficiency virus type 1, and murine leukemia virus) have subjugated the microtubule-associated motor proteins for viral replication. Although there have been advances in our understanding of how retroviruses move along microtubules, the strategies are different among them. Thus, a better understanding of the mechanisms used by each retrovirus to functionally subvert microtubule motor proteins will provide important clues in the design of new antiretroviral drugs that can specifically disrupt intracellular viral trafficking.
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