The genome of the human T-lymphotropic virus type III (HTLV-III/LAV) has the potential to encode at least three polypeptides in addition to those encoded by the gag, pol, and env genes. In this study, the product of the sor (short open reading frame) region, which overlaps the 3' end of the pol gene, was found to be a protein with a molecular weight of 23,000. An assay was developed for testing the ability of cloned HTLV-III proviruses to produce viruses cytopathic for T4+ lymphocytes. In the cell line used, C8166, neither the HTLV-III sor gene product nor the complete 3'-orf gene product were necessary for the replication or cytopathic effects of the HTLV-III.

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