Inserm-U758 Virologie humaine, Équipe oncogenèse rétrovirale, F-69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France, École normale supérieure de Lyon, F-69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France, IFR 128 Biosciences Lyon-Gerland, F-69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
RNA Pol II dependent transcription can occur on both genomic DNA strands in the cell (sense and antisense transcription). This is also the case for a number of viral genomes. The antisense transcripts can act as interfering RNAs but can also be translated and then play a role as proteins. In this review, we will first define what antisense transcription is. We will then describe some examples of viral antisense transcription occurring in cells infected with the oncogenic HTLV-1 retrovirus or the HSV-1 herpesvirus.