We constructed a full-length molecular clone of simian immunodeficiency virus from an African green monkey. Upon transfection, this clone directed the production of virus particles cytopathic and infectious to human CD4+ leukemia cell lines. Mutations were introduced by recombinant DNA techniques into eight open reading frames of simian immunodeficiency virus from the African green monkey thus far identified. The phenotypes of mutant viruses, i.e., infectivity, cytopathogenicity, transactivation of gene expression controlled by a long terminal repeat, and viral RNA and protein syntheses, were examined by transfection and infection experiments. Three structural (gag, pol, and env) and two regulatory (tat and rev) gene mutants were not infectious, whereas vif, vpx, and nef were dispensable for infectivity and mutant viruses were highly cytopathic. In transient transfection assays, a rev mutant produced mainly small mRNA species and no detectable virus protein and particles. The transactivation potential of a tat mutant was about 10-fold less than that of wild-type DNA, generating small amounts of virus
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