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We constructed five chimeric clones between human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIVMAC) and four SIVMAC mutants by recombinant DNA techniques. Three chimeric clones and all mutants with an alteration in either the vif, vpx, vpr, or nef gene were infectious to human CD4-positive cell lines. The susceptibility of macaque monkey peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to infection by these mutants and chimeras was examined in vitro. Macaque PBMC supported the replication of wild-type and vpx, vpr, and nef mutant SIVMAC strains. A chimera carrying the long terminal repeats (LTRs), gag, pol, vif, and vpx of SIVMAC and tat, rev, vpu, and env of HIV-1 was also replication competent in PBMC. In contrast, HIV-1, the vif mutant of SIVMAC, a chimera containing rev and env of SIVMAC, and a chimera containing vpx, vpr, tat, rev, and env of SIVMAC did not grow in PBMC. Western immunoblotting analysis of the replicating chimera in PBMC confirmed the hybrid nature of the virus. These data strongly suggested that the sequence important for macaque cell tropism lies within the LTR, gag, pol, and/or vif sequences of the SIVMAC genome.