Sequences of 31 bp containing putative AP-1 and AP-4 binding sequences in the U3 region of the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) long terminal repeat (LTR) were deleted and the basal promoter activity of the LTR was measured by the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) assay. The activity of the FIV LTR was reduced in whole foetus 4 (fcwf-4) cells and Crandell feline kidney cells by this deletion. Cotransfection of murine c-Fos or c-Jun expression plasmids with the FIV LTR-CAT reporter plasmid into fcwf-4 cells revealed that FIV LTR could be activated by c-Fos but not c-Jun in the cells. The mutated LTR was introduced into an infectious molecular clone of FIV and the replication rate and the cytopathogenic activity of the mutant were compared with those of the wild-type in two feline CD4-positive T lymphoblastoid cell lines. It was found that the rate and activity of the mutant were almost the same as those of the wild-type. From these data, we conclude that the 31 bp fragment is important for achieving maximal expression of the FIV genome, but not required for the replication of FIV in feline T lymphocytes.


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