5' regions of HIV-1 RNAs are not sufficient for encapsidation: implications for the HIV-1 packaging signal

Virology. 1995 Oct 1;212(2):718-23. doi: 10.1006/viro.1995.1530.


The location and nature of the HIV-1 packaging signal are largely unknown, despite several genetic and biochemical mutational analyses. In this report we present our attempts to define a minimal HIV-1 packaging signal through the generation of test RNAs containing small blocks of HIV-1 sequences. We constructed RNAs differing in the position and identity of the HIV-1 sequence and the segments of heterologous sequences. However, none of the vectors were efficiently, encapsidated by wild-type HIV-1 virions. These results contrast those of Moloney murine leukemia virus and Rous sarcoma virus, where small viral segments mediate the efficient encapsidation of heterologous RNAs. The results suggest that the HIV-1 packaging signal may be extremely dispersed or heavily context-dependent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Cytoplasm / virology
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • RNA Splicing
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • RNA, Viral / genetics*
  • Virion / chemistry
  • Virus Assembly / genetics*


  • RNA, Viral