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Published September 1988 | Published
Journal Article Open

Identification of a novel retroviral gene unique to human immunodeficiency virus type 2 and simian immunodeficiency virus SIVMAC


Human and simian immunodeficiency-associated retroviruses are extraordinarily complex, containing at least five genes, tat, art, sor, R, and 3' orf, in addition to the structural genes gag, pol, and env. Recently, nucleotide sequence analysis of human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) and simian immunodeficiency virus SIVMAC revealed the existence of still another open reading frame, termed X, which is highly conserved between these two viruses but absent from HIV-1. In this report, we demonstrate for the first time that the X open reading frame represents a functional retroviral gene in both HIV-2 and SIVMAC and that it encodes a virion-associated protein of 14 and 12 kilodaltons, respectively. We also describe the production of recombinant TrpE/X fusion proteins in Escherichia coli and show that sera from some HIV-2-infected individuals specifically recognize these proteins.

Additional Information

© 1988 American Society for Microbiology. Received 22 April 1988/Accepted 31 May 1988. We thank L. Montagnier for the HIV-2/ROD isolate, P. Kanki and M. Essex for blood specimens from West Africa, T.-J. Koerner for the pATH expression vector, and J. Holt for excellent editorial assistance. This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the United States Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, and the Life and Health Insurance Medical Research Fund. B.H.H. is a Special Fellow of the Leukemia Society of America, and G.M.S. is a PEW Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.

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