Exogenous retroviruses are subclassified into seven genera and include viruses that cause diseases in humans. The viral Gag and Gag-Pro-Pol polyproteins are processed by the retroviral protease in the last stage of replication and inhibitors of the HIV-1 protease are widely used in AIDS therapy. Resistant mutations occur in response to the drug therapy introducing residues that are frequently found in the equivalent position of other retroviral proteases. Therefore, besides helping to understand the general and specific features of these enzymes, comparative studies of retroviral proteases may help to understand the mutational capacity of the HIV-1 protease
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