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The genomes of simple retroviruses, such as murine leukemia virus (MLV), contain only three genes, gag, pol, and env. The genomes of complex retroviruses, such as human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) contain additional genes (e.g., tax and rex) for regulatory proteins.

SIMPLE RETROVIRUS

Murine Leukemia Virus

LTR

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gag

pol

Complex retrovirus - HTLV

Complex retrovirus - HTLV

appear to represent remnants of past retroviral infections in germline cells. Proviruses contain structures called long terminal repeats (LTR) at each end. The LTRs contain promoter elements and transcriptional start sites that enable the retroviral genes to be expressed. They can also affect the expression of nearby cellular genes.

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