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J Virol. 1990 Nov;64(11):5688-93.

Open reading frame vpr of simian immunodeficiency virus encodes a virion-associated protein.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


The genomes of simian immunodeficiency viruses isolated from rhesus macaques (SIVmac) contain an open reading frame (ORF), vpr, which has a coding potential of 97 to 101 amino acid residues. In this study, a vpr ORF-encoded protein of approximately 11 kDa was identified, and anti-vpr antibodies were detected in rhesus macaques infected by SIVmac. These results provide clear evidence that the vpr ORF is a coding gene of SIVmac. The vpr protein, like the vpx protein which is encoded by another accessory gene of SIVmac, was also found to be associated with viral particles. This observation demonstrates that more than one accessory gene product can be present in the virions of this family of retroviruses and raises the possibility that the vpr protein may have a role in early part of the virus life cycle.

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