The V3- and C4-coding regions in the envelope gene of the infectious, pathogenic SIVmac239 clone were replaced by the corresponding HIV-1 sequences. Viral particles were obtained after transfection of COS-1 cells. Chimeric SIVmac constructs were not replication competent in the human T cell lines CEMx174, AA2, H9, and MT-4 or in primary cultures of rhesus monkey peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The lack of infectivity of the hybrid constructs was associated with inefficient proteolytic processing of the gp160env precursor. Unlike the modular nature of some proteins, gp120 appears to be a highly ordered molecule whose function is dependent on the integration of many discontinuous, interactive regions.