The interrelationships between proteasomes and viral gene products are very complex. 20S proteasomes associate with a number of viral mRNAs which are cleaved by proteasome's associated endonuclease activity. In addition proteasome's endopeptidase activities are involved in the presentation of viral antigens. Viral proteins of different origin associate with the 20S and 26S complexes and interfere with their enzymatic activities. A major part of this review deals with the interactions between 20S proteasomes and the gene products of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which has been studied in detail by our group.