The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) regulatory protein Rev stimulates expression of structural viral proteins via a target response element (RRE) located within and mRNAs. To analyse the HIV-2 Rev trans-activation effect on the expression of the envelope protein, we cloned a functionally active HIV-2 cDNA and showed that it contained four exons. Using transient expression assays, we mapped a 353 bp RRE fragment within the gene of HIV-2 on which both HIV-1 and HIV-2 Rev could act. Interestingly, smaller fragments suppressed the use of additional splice sites within the gene and caused envelope protein expression independent of Rev.


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