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J Virol. 1995 Feb;69(2):882-8.

The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 vpr gene prevents cell proliferation during chronic infection.

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Program in Molecular Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98104.


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is a retrovirus that can cause extensive cytopathicity in T cells. However, long-term productive infection of T-cell lines has been described. Here we show that although Vpr has no effect on the initial cytopathic effect of HIV-1, viruses that contain an intact vpr gene are unable to establish a chronic infection of T cells. However, virus with a mutated vpr gene can readily establish such long-term cultures. The effect of Vpr is independent of the env gene and the nef gene. Furthermore, expression of Vpr alone affects the progression of cells in the cell cycle. These results suggest that HIV-1 has evolved a viral gene to prevent chronic infection of T cells.

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