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HIV/AIDS Glossary

Protease

A type of enzyme that breaks down proteins into smaller proteins or smaller protein units, such as peptides or amino acids. HIV protease cuts up large precursor proteins into smaller proteins. These smaller proteins combine with HIV’s genetic material to form a new HIV virus. Protease inhibitors (PIs) prevent HIV from replicating by blocking protease.

Related Term(s): Budding, Life Cycle, Protease Inhibitor

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Budding is step seven of HIV replication.

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