Difference Between Lentivirus and Retrovirus

Lentivirus vs Retrovirus

Viruses are considered as genetic elements enclosed with protein. These particles are not considered as living organisms as they lack certain key features which exist in living organisms including cell structures and independent replication. Due to this reason, virus particles are called virions, but not virus cells. Moreover, virions are not expressed as dead or alive, but as active or inactive. Viruses are very important to humans because of their ability of causing infections or disease- producing potential. Some examples for disease causing viruses include Hepadnavirus, Herpes simplex virus, HIV, Enterovirus, and Filoviruses and disease they cause include Hepatitis B (viral), Herpes, AIDS, Polio, and Ebola respectively. All the viruses contain a nucleic acid enclosed in a protein coat. These particles lack cytoplasm. The nucleic acid present in the viruses can be either DNA or RNA, and their genome is either linear or circular; single-stranded or double-stranded. Depending on their symmetry, viruses are characterized byhelical, icosahedral, binal, and polymorphic. Based on the type of nuclei acid, viruses are classified into different categories. Retroviruses are classified under the Family Retroviridae. In this family there are seven genera, including Alpharetrovirus, Betaretrovirus, Gammaretrovirus, Deltaretrovirus, Epsilonretrovirus, Lentivirus and Spumavirus. Retroviruses are categorized under reverse transcribing DNA and RNA virus group. Since, lentiviruses are a type of retroviruses, both share similar features. 

What is Retrovirus?

Retrovirus is a RNA virus. However, unlike other RNA viruses, retrovirus possesses unique ability to reverse transcribe its RNA genome into a double-stranded DNA. Once it transcribes, this virus integrate DNA into host’s genome. This unique ability has been used to develop certain applications like gene therapy of inherited diseases. Unlike the most other viruses, retrovirus vectors are capable of infecting a wide variety of cells. Because of this ability, retrovirus has been widely applied in clinical trials and cancer vaccine strategies. Actively dividing cells are infected by the retrovirus.In viral taxonomy, retrovirus is classified under Family Retroviridae, which includes two subfamilies and seven genera. Some examples for retroviruses include leukemia virus, HIV-1, mouse mammary tumor virus, etc.

What is Lentivirus?

Lentivirus is a genus that comes under the Family Retroviridae. This genus includes Bovine immunodeficiency virus, Equine infectious anemia virus, Feline immunodeficiency virus, Puma lentivirus, Caprine arthritis encephalitis virus and Human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1).

What is the difference between Lentivirus and Retrovirus?

• Lentivirus is  considered as a subgroup of retroviruses.

• Lentivirus, unlike the other retrovirus genera, can infect non-dividing or terminally differentiated cells.


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