New: The student document is a fillable PDF form. Students can type their answers in the document.
This hands-on activity is part of a series of activities and demonstrations focusing on various aspects of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) life cycle. Students will first model reverse transcription, the process that results in the production of a double-stranded DNA copy of the HIV single-stranded RNA genome. Using an actual HIV RNA sequence as a template, students will model the synthesis of a complementary strand of DNA by attaching nucleotides to one another. Then, students will substitute AZT in place of thymidine. When AZT is incorporated in a growing DNA sequence it prevents further nucleotides from being added, thereby blocking the production of HIV DNA.
This lesson is designed to be completed in a 50-minute class period, but educators will need to prepare the nucleotides ahead of time. This lesson is appropriate for high school Honors, AP, and IB, and Introductory Biology college students.