The HIV A (sor) gene product is essential for virus infectivity

Klaus Strebel, Daryl Daugherty, Kathleen Clouse, David Cohen, Tom Folks, Malcolm A. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

335 Scopus citations


The genome of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) contains several open reading frames (ORFs) not present in other viruses. The 'A' gene1, also known as Q2 P'3, ORF-14 or sor 5, partially overlaps the pol gene; its protein product has a relative molecular mass of 23,000 (Mr 23K) and is present in productively infected cells7-10. The function of this protein is unclear; mutant viruses deleted in 'A' replicate in and kill CD4+ lymphocyte lines8, but the high degree of conservation of the deduced amino-acid sequence in nine different HIV isolates (80%) and the presence of analogous genes in HIV-211 and other lentiviruses suggest that the gene function is an important one. Here we describe a mutant virus deficient in the 'A' gene which produces virion particles normally; however, the particles are & sm;1,000 times less infective than wild type. Transcomplementation experiments partially restore infectivity. The mutant virus spreads efficiently when virus-producing cells are co-cultivated with CD4+ lymphocytes, however, indicating that HIV can spread from cell to cell in a mechanism that does not require the 'A' gene product and probably does not require the production of infective virus particles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)728-730
Number of pages3
Issue number6132
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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