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Arch Virol. 1994;134(3-4):221-34.

The genome of feline immunodeficiency virus.

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Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tokyo, Japan.


Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a member of the genus Lentivirus of the family Retroviridae. FIV can infect T lymphocytes and monocytes/macrophages in vitro and in vivo, and causes an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-like disease in cats. Several isolates of FIV from geographically distant countries have been molecularly cloned. There is considerable heterogeneity especially in Env gene among the FIV isolates and they can be divided into two or more subgroups. Like other lentiviruses, FIV has a complex genome structure. Gag gene encodes matrix, capsid and nucleocapsid proteins, and Pol gene encodes protease, reverse transcriptase, dUTPase and integrase. The dUTPase is not present in the primate lentiviruses but present in the non-primate lentiviruses. Env gene encodes surface and transmembrane envelope glycoproteins. In addition to the structural and enzymatic proteins, at least three more genes (Vif, ORF A, Rev) are present in FIV. Vif is related to the infectivity of the cell-free viruses. Rev functions in the stability and transport of incompletely spliced viral RNAs from the nucleus to cytoplasm and is indispensable for virus replication. Although the Tat protein of the primate lentiviruses is essential for virus replication, ORF A (putative Tat gene) of FIV is not essential for virus replication in established feline T lymphoblastoid cell lines. However, the ORF A gene product is related to the efficient replication of the virus in primary peripheral blood lymphocytes. In the long terminal repeat (LTR) of FIV, there are many putative binding sites for enhancer/promoter proteins. Among these binding sites, the putative AP-1 site is important for basal promoter activity of the LTR and responsible for the T cell activation signal through protein kinase C, however the site is not required for the virus replication in established feline T lymphoblastoid cell lines. Comparative study of the molecular biology of lentiviruses revealed that the genome structure, splicing pattern and functional enhancer protein-binding sites of FIV are more similar to those of the ruminant lentiviruses than those of the primate lentiviruses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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