Two molecular clones of feline immunodeficiency virus were compared. The first clone, 34TF10, was from a Petaluma, Calif., isolate; the second, PPR, was isolated from a cat in the San Diego, Calif., area. The cats from which the isolates were obtained suffered from chronic debilitating illnesses. The two molecular clones differed in their in vitro host cell range. The 34TF10 clone infected the Crandall feline kidney and G355-5 cell lines, but replicated less efficiently on feline peripheral blood leukocytes. In contrast, the PPR clone productively infected the primary feline peripheral blood leukocytes but not Crandall feline kidney or G355-5 cells. The 34TF10 and PPR clones had an overall sequence identity of 91%. The env gene was the least conserved (85% at the amino acid level). Additionally, the potential open reading frame for a Tat-like protein, ORF 2, contained a stop codon in the 34TF10 isolate which was not found in the PPR clone. This truncation did not prevent in vitro or in vivo replication of 34TF10. Two splice acceptor sites were identified in the 34TF10 clone. One was 5' to the beginning of the putative tat open reading frame, and the other was 5' to the putative vif product. Both of these acceptor sites were conserved in the PPR clone. The long terminal repeats of the viruses were 7% divergent between the two clones, with a lack of conservation in putative NF-kappa B, LBP-1, and CCAAT enhancer-promoter sites.