FIV is a lentivirus of domestic cats that causes a spectrum of diseases that is remarkably similar to the clinical syndrome produced by HIV infection in people. Both HIV and FIV has been shown to cause neurologic dysfunction. Specific Pathogen-Free (SPF) cats were placed into one of three groups: FIV-PPR infected; DU-FIV-PPR (a dUTPase mutant of the FIV-PPR clone) infected; or an age-matched control group. In both infected groups, the general clinical signs of infection included lymphadenopathy, oral ulcerations, rough hair coat, and conjuntivitis. Specific neurological changes in the FIV-PPR infected cats included hind limb paresis; delayed righting and pupillary reflexes; behavioral changes; delayed visual and auditory evoked potentials; decreased spinal and peripheral nerve conduction velocities; and marked alterations in sleep patterns. Most of these changes were also observed in the DU-FIV-PPR infected cats. However, these cats tended to have a slightly less severe disease. In this study, we have demonstrated that an infectious molecular clone of FIV closely parallels the disease course of wild type FIV-infected cats. By using a knockout gene mutant of this clone, we were able to demonstrate that the dUTPase gene is not essential for neuropathogenesis. Further use of the FIV-PPR clone should prove useful in determining the essential viral elements that are important in the neuropathogenesis of lentiviral infections.