Transgenic mice were produced that bore copies of a defective HIV provirus. The transgenic offspring from three independently derived mouse lines manifested renal disease associated with proteinuria, a high mortality rate, and HIV-specific gene expression in the kidney. An early histopathological lesion in the kidney was focal glomerulosclerosis. Moribund animals had diffuse glomerulosclerosis with prominent microcystic tubular dilatation, tubular epithelial degeneration, and interstitial nephritis. Electron microscopy revealed ultrastructural features consistent with the glomerulosclerosis: effacement of the foot processes of visceral epithelium and an increase in mesangial cell matrix. Transgenic mice variably expressed 6-, 4.3-, and 2-kb HIV-specific RNAs and HIV-related polypeptides in several tissues including kidney. Immunocytostaining revealed the presence of HIV-related protein in the glomeruli of affected animals. Glomerulopathy in these transgenic mice and HIV-associated nephropathy in man have similar features.