Auxiliary genes that are not essential for viral replication in cell culture are found in all known lentiviruses. The “nonessential” auxiliary genes of HIV-1 are vif, vpr, vpu, and nef. Sequences within the upstream region of U3 in the LTR are also not required for virus replication in cell culture. We constructed a panel of 23 mutants with single and combination deletions in these regions in the wild-type HIV-1 infectious molecular clone NL4-3. Deletion of the vpu, vpr, and nef genes and the U3 upstream sequence (US), individually or in combinations, did not appreciably alter virus replication in either chimpanzee PBMCs, human PBMCs, or in the B/T cell hybrid line CEMx174. In contrast, deletion of the vif gene dramatically delayed virus replication in all three cell types. This collection of HIV-1 deletion mutants will be useful for elucidating the functions of these genes and for investigating antiviral immunity in animal models.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases