The Molecules of HIV

Note: this site last updated in 2006


An article from "The Molecules of HIV" (c) Dan Stowell

vpx is found in HIV-2 (and SIV), but not in HIV-1. It is closely related to vpr (if we compare their genetic sequences), which indicates that its existence might have come about as a duplication of the vpr gene.

Its role in the life of HIV is not entirely clear! It certainly seems to be "dispensable", since types of HIV-2 without a functioning vpx gene still seem to be able to replicate and to infect cells.... However, it seems that vpx does have some effect of making viral reproduction more efficient, especially in non-dividing cells such as macrophages. The molecular mechanisms behind this are not yet fully understood.


More detailed information can be found in these journal articles:

  • Dispensable role of the Human-Immunodeficiency-Virus Type-2 Vpx protein in viral replication, Marcon L, Michaels F, Hattori N, Fargnoli K, Gallo RC, Franchini G. Journal of Virology 65 (7): 3938-3942 JUL 1991
  • Vpx and Vpr proteins of HIV-2 up-regulate the viral infectivity by a distinct mechanism in lymphocytic cells, Ueno F, Shiota H, Miyaura M, Yoshida A, Sakurai A, Tatsuki J, Koyama AH, Akari H, Adachi A, Fujita M. Microbes and Infection 5 (5): 387-395 APR 2003

Written by
Dan Stowell

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