Tat, the transcriptional transactivator protein of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), is required for viral replication in vitro. The Tat antagonist, Ro 5-3335, and its analog, Ro 24-7429, have been shown to inhibit replication of HIV-1 and to reduce steady-state viral RNA in infected cells (M.-C. Hsu et al., Science 254:1799-1802, 1991, and M.-C. Hsu et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90:6395-6399, 1993). Analysis of HIV-1 long terminal repeat-driven reporter gene transcription in a recombinant adenovirus by nuclear run-on assay indicated that the drug predominantly inhibits Tat-dependent initiation and also exerts a measurable effect on elongation. This result may imply a common mechanism for Tat-mediated transcription initiation and elongation.