Abstract

The nucleotide sequence of the long terminal repeat sequence (LTR) of the human T-cell leukemia (lymphotropic) virus type III (HTLV-III) was determined. This virus is associated etiologically with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The LTR was found to be 634 base pairs in length with U3, R, and U5 regions of 453, 98, and 83 bp, respectively. The proviral DNA is flanked by a 7-base-pair direct repeat. The promoter and polyadenylation signals are situated 27 and 24 base pairs upstream from the respective transcriptional initiation and polyadenylation sites. The primer binding site is complementary to transfer RNA-lysine. The LTR of HTLV-III, like that of HTLV-I, showed a limited homology to enhancer-like sequences within two genes expressed specifically in T lymphocytes, T-cell growth factor, and gamma-interferon. Structural comparisons revealed that the LTR of HTLV-III is distantly related to those of HTLV-I, HTLV-II, and bovine leukemia virus.

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