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J Hum Virol. 1999 May-Jun;2(3):167-74.

Transactivation is a conserved function among primate lentivirus Vpr proteins but is not shared by Vpx.

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Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard AIDS Institute, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-6017, USA.



To investigate the transactivating activity of Vpr proteins from human immunodeficiency viruses types 1 and 2 (HIV-1 and HIV-2) and simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) on various primate lentivirus long terminal repeats (LTRs), and to determine whether the Vpx proteins shared by HIV-2 and SIV are able to transactivate any HIV or SIV promoter.


The vpr and vpx genes of the HIVs and SIVs encode virion-associated proteins, which are implicated in viral replication and pathogenesis. HIV-1 Vpr is involved in the transport of the preintegration complex (PIC) to the nucleus, transactivates the viral LTR, and induces cell cycle arrest. HIV-2 and SIV Vpx proteins share amino acid sequence similarities with Vpr and are involved in PIC translocation into the nucleus but are unable to induce cell cycle arrest. We cloned and expressed the vpr and vpx genes from several primate lentiviruses and tested their transactivating ability on HIV-1, HIV-2, SIVmac and SIVagm LTRs cloned upstream of the CAT reporter gene.


All Vpr tested had a transactivating effect on several viral LTRs; however, none of the Vpx proteins showed a detectable transactivating effect.


These results indicate that the transactivating properties of Vpr proteins were conserved throughout evolution in primate lentiviruses, which suggests that they have an important role in virus replication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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