Members of the tripartite motif (TRIM) protein family are involved in various cellular processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, development, oncogenesis and apoptosis. Some TRIM proteins display antiviral properties, targeting retroviruses in particular. The potential activity of TRIM19, better known as promyelocytic leukaemia protein, against several viruses has been well documented and, recently, TRIM5alpha has been identified as the factor responsible for the previously described Lv1 and Ref1 antiretroviral activities. There is also evidence indicating that other TRIM proteins can influence viral replication. These findings are reviewed here, and the possibility that TRIMs represent a new and widespread class of antiviral proteins involved in innate immunity is also considered.
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