Note: this site last updated in 2006
Assembly, budding, and maturation
An article from "The Molecules of HIV" (c) Dan Stowell
New viral core complexes are assembled inside the host cell, just underneath the cell surface.
When assembled, these viruses bud off from the host cell. Effectively, they rip themselves off from the rest of the cell, taking a piece of the cell membrane with them to form their own viral membranes.
At some point during this part of the HIV life cycle, the viral protease cleaves gag and gag-pol">gag-pol precursor proteins to form the proper HIV protein products. This is part of maturation - an "immature" virus turning into a "mature" virus with a properly-formed viral core.
An interesting discovery about HIV budding is that it seems to require a protein made in human cells called Tsg101 - so perhaps this part of the cycle can be halted by taking away Tsg101. More information: www.biomedcentral.com/news/20011008/03