The transcription pattern of the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) genome in a feline CD4 cell line was examined. In addition to the genomic RNA (9·2 kb), at least five FIV-specific transcripts [5·2, 4·4 (doublet), 1·7 and 1·4 kb] were detected by using subgenomic restriction enzyme fragments of an FIV molecular clone or FIV-specific oligonucleotides as probes. Among these transcripts, the 9·2, 5·2 and 4·4 (doublet) kb mRNAs were not expressed in the cytoplasm of cells transfected with a mutant. To determine the location of splice junctions in the FIV genome, we used PCR to amplify and clone cDNAs corresponding to the viral mRNAs from infected cells. The region between and was found to contain at least two splice donor and three splice acceptor sites. Two splice acceptor sites were detected in the 3′ region of . By hybridization analysis and sequencing of cDNA clones, it was revealed that the medium sized mRNAs are derived from a single splice event, with different splice acceptor sites, and that the two smaller transcripts are doubly or triply spliced mRNAs. Our results demonstrate a complex pattern of alternative splicing of FIV mRNAs. Furthermore, we identified monocistronic mRNA species that employ a unique splice acceptor site.


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