Mutations were introduced into scattered regions of the HIV-1 vif gene. The twelve in-frame mutants generated were evaluated for the replication potentials in cells by transfection and infection experiments. All the mutants produced a normal level of progeny virions upon transfection, indicating the absence of the late function of HIV-1 Vif protein. The infectivity of virions obtained was monitored in H9 cells, which are non-permissive for HIV-1 without the Vif function. Most of the mutations in various parts of the vif gene, including those in the three conserved regions among HIV/SIV, abrogated the infectivity of the virus. In contrast, the cysteine residue at position 133, which was reported to be critical for viral infectivity, was found not to be essential. In addition, the C-terminal eight amino acid residues (185-192) in the Vif protein could be deleted with no effects on viral growth potential.