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Structure of HIV

Cross-sectional schematic diagram of HIV virion. Each virion expresses 72 glycoprotein projections composed of gp120 and gp41. The gp41 molecule is a transmembrane molecule that crosses the lipid bilayer of the viral envelope. Gp120 is associated with gp41 and serves as the viral receptor for CD4 on host cells.

The viral envelope derives from the host-cell and contains some host-cell membrane proteins, including class I and class II MHC molecules.

Within the envelope is the viral core, or nucleocapsid, which includes a layer of a protein called p17 and an inner layer of a protein called p24.

The HIV genome consists of two copies of single-stranded RNA, which are associated with two molecules of reverse transcriptase (p64) and nucleoid proteins p10, a protease and p32, an integrase.

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