Animal Health Research Reviews

Research Article

The molecular biology of bovine immunodeficiency virus: a comparison with other lentiviruses

Marie-Claude St-Louisa1, Mihaela Cojocariua1 and Denis Archambaulta1 c1

a1 University of Québec at Montréal, Department of Biological Sciences, Montréal, Québec, Canada


Bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV) was first isolated in 1969 from a cow, R-29, with a wasting syndrome. The virus isolated induced the formation of syncytia in cell cultures and was structurally similar to maedi-visna virus. Twenty years later, it was demonstrated that the bovine R-29 isolate was indeed a lentivirus with striking similarity to the human immunodeficiency virus. Like other lentiviruses, BIV has a complex genomic structure characterized by the presence of several regulatory/accessory genes that encode proteins, some of which are involved in the regulation of virus gene expression. This manuscript aims to review biological and, more particularly, molecular aspects of BIV, with emphasis on regulatory/accessory viral genes/proteins, in comparison with those of other lentiviruses.

(Received August 09 2004)

(Accepted October 08 2004)


c1 *University of Québec at Montréal, Department of Biological Sciences, P.O. Box 8888, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3C 3P8 E-mail: