Aiken C., Zhang P.
© 2013 Springer International Publishing Switzerland. All rights are reserved. To replicate, viruses must form stable particles that are released from infected cells, yet must disassemble and release their genomes following entry into target cells. Retroviruses, including the human immunodeficiency viruses HIV-1 and HIV-2, resolve this conundrum through assembly of particles from polyproteins followed by maturation of the core via proteolytic cleavage of the polyproteins. Cleavage of the Gag and Gag-Pol polyproteins results in morphogenesis of the core containing a metastable capsid that is competent for disassembly upon penetration of a cell. For HIV-1, inhibition of the viral protease results in immature particles that are impaired at entry as well as post-entry stages of infection. Hence, drugs targeting the viral protease represent a major arm of current therapy for HIV infection. In this chapter, we review the current state of knowledge regarding HIV-1 maturation, including structural and mechanistic aspects as well as the consequences of its inhibition.