Question A: Reverse transcriptase is an enzyme that converts RNA like that found in HIV into DNA. This conversion allows the virus to integrate its DNA into the chromosome of the host cell. This insert can be carried for a long time as part of the host chromosome and will be replicated and used to make viral proteins along with the host chromosome.
Question B: Reverse transcriptase inhibitor prevents the conversion of RNA into DNA thereby inhibiting the latent form of the infection described above. It does not prevent viral DNA already integrated into the host chromosome being replicated or used to make viral protein.
Question C: The use of this inhibitor will prevent new copies of the virus integrating into new host cells in the patient because the virus can’t make DNA copies of its genome. It is important to point out that it will not clear the infection from the patient or stop new viruses from being made so the patient is still a carrier and can pass the infection on to others.
Recall that we have learned a great deal about the infection cycle in this chapter. This question relates to that cycle.
Question A: The ICAM-1 receptor is the receptor for rhinovirus, which is the causative agent of the majority of cases of the common cold. If you can bind zinc on the ICAM-1 receptor it will block the ability of the virus to attach to the host cell. This will prevent the infection from continuing.
Question B: If there are no receptor sites for the virus, the infection will be shortened. Especially since during the infection the immune system has been mobilized to destroy any free virus that is found. If the virus cannot attach it cannot penetrate the host cell leaving it exposed to immune attack. This will shorten the infection.