The formation of enveloped virus particles requires that key structural components of the virus, and the viral genomic RNA, are brought together at a cellular membrane system where new particles are assembled. The trafficking events, and the subsequent assembly and release of infectious virus particles, is co-coordinated through interactions between the viral structural proteins and cellular proteins. In the present paper, we consider how these events occur during HIV production in macrophages. In these cells, virus assembly appears to occur on a pre-existing specialized plasma membrane domain that is sequestered within the cells. The events that take place at these intracellular assembly sites may endow the virus with unique biochemical characteristics and allow virus release to be co-ordinated through the formation of infectious synapses.

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