Infection of macaques with chimeric simian-human immunodeficiency viruses (SHIVs) allows evaluation of HIV-1 envelope vaccines. SHIV-4 is based on SIVmac239 but carries the env, tat, and rev genes of HIV-1IIIB. In this study we used Semliki Forest virus (SFV) RNA vectors to express the envelope protein gp160 of HIV-1IIIB in cynomolgus macaques. Monkeys were immunized four times with recombinant suicide SFV. Whereas two of four monkeys showed T cell-proliferative responses, only one monkey had demonstrable levels of antibodies to HIV-1 gp41 and gp120 as shown by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blot. The vaccinated monkeys and four control animals were challenged with 10,000 MID100 (100% minimum infectious doses) of cell-free monkey cell-grown SHIV-4 virus. As demonstrated by virus isolation, all macaques became infected after challenge. All vaccinated monkeys showed an HIV-1-specific anamnestic T cell-proliferative response. Three of four vaccines had developed HIV-1-Env-specific antibodies 2 weeks after challenge whereas none of the four controls showed any detectable immune response at this time point. Furthermore, three of four vaccinated monkeys had no demonstrable viral antigenemia and low viral load as opposed to one of the four naive control animals.