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Retrovirology. 2005 Feb 22;2:11.

The Vpr protein from HIV-1: distinct roles along the viral life cycle.

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Institut Cochin, Department of Infectious Diseases, INSERM U567, CNRS UMR8104, Université Paris 5, Paris, France.


The genomes of human and simian immunodeficiency viruses (HIV and SIV) encode the gag, pol and env genes and contain at least six supplementary open reading frames termed tat, rev, nef, vif, vpr, vpx and vpu. While the tat and rev genes encode regulatory proteins absolutely required for virus replication, nef, vif, vpr, vpx and vpu encode for small proteins referred to "auxiliary" (or "accessory"), since their expression is usually dispensable for virus growth in many in vitro systems. However, these auxiliary proteins are essential for viral replication and pathogenesis in vivo. The two vpr- and vpx-related genes are found only in members of the HIV-2/SIVsm/SIVmac group, whereas primate lentiviruses from other lineages (HIV-1, SIVcpz, SIVagm, SIVmnd and SIVsyk) contain a single vpr gene. In this review, we will mainly focus on vpr from HIV-1 and discuss the most recent developments in our understanding of Vpr functions and its role during the virus replication cycle.

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