Genetic and biological comparisons of pathogenic and nonpathogenic molecular clones of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV(MAC))

Paul A Luciw, K. E S Shaw, R. E. Unger, V. Planelles, M. W. Stout, J. E. Lackner, E. Pratt-Lowe, N. J. Leung, B. Banapour, Marta Marthas

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79 Scopus citations


Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) is a designation for a group of related but unique lentiviruses identified in several primate species. A viral isolate from a rhesus macaque (i.e., SIV(mac)) causes a fatal AIDS-like disease in experimentally infected macaques, and several infectious molecular clones of this virus have been characterized. This report presents the complete nucleotide sequence of molecularly cloned SIV(mac1A11), and comparisons are made with the sequence of molecularly cloned SIV(mac239). SIV(mac1A11) has delayed replication kinetics in lymphoid cells but replicates as well as uncloned SIV(mac) in macrophage cultures. Macaques infected with virus from the SIV(mac1A11) clone develop antiviral antibodies, but virus does not persist in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and no disease signs are observed. SIV(mac239) infects lymphoid cells, shows restricted replication in cultured macrophages, and establishes a persistent infection in animals that leads to a fatal AIDS-like disease. Both viruses are about 98% homologous at the nucleotide sequence level. In SIV(mac1A11), the vpr gene as well as the transmembrane domain of env are prematurely truncated, whereas the nef gene of SIV(mac239) is prematurely truncated. Sequence differences are also noted in variable region 1 (V1) in the surface domain of the env gene. The potential implications of these and other sequence differences are discussed with respect to the phenotypes of both viruses. This animal model is critically important for investigating the roles of specific viral genes in viral/host interactions that cannot be studied in individuals infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-402
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology


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