In this paper the current state of knowledge of the replication of cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) is reviewed and the DNA intermediates and enzymes involved in replication are discussed. Based on this information a model for the replication complex is developed. In this model it is suggested that replication complexes resemble virus particles and that, in their assembly, there are close interactions between the inclusion body protein, the virus coat protein, the replicase enzyme, the tRNA primer and the 35S RNA template. The similarities between CaMV replication complexes and those of retroviruses are discussed, and we extend this discussion to a comparison between CaMV and reverse transcribing elements.

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