Metalloenzymes: From Bench to Bedside - Chapter 2.2: Reverse transcriptase

Elsevier, Metalloenzymes From Bench to Bedside 2024, Pages 23-34
Andrea Angeli

Reverse transcriptase (RT) enzymes act in the process of the transformation of single-stranded RNA into double-stranded DNA via an RNA/DNA intermediate. This process was a pivotal step in the life evolution facilitating the transfer of the genetic information encoded in the RNA template to DNA. Indeed, it is present in the life cycle of all retroviruses, eukaryotes, and prokaryotes organisms. In this chapter, we discuss their mechanism of action and the differences among the different classes of RTs, also on the basis of numerous structural studies over the years. In particular, we focus on RTs of HIV-1, Tyr3, and TERT, which encompass the three main classes of RTs such as retroviruses, retrotransposons, and telomerases, respectively. Finally, we have considered the clinically reverse transcriptase inhibitors in their general aspects because they are the most attractive targets for antiviral purposes.