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Hetero-oligomerization between human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) envelope glycoprotein (Env) truncation mutants and epitope-tagged gp160 is dependent on the presence of gp41 transmembrane protein ™ amino acids 552 to 589, a putative amphipathic alpha-helical sequence. HIV-2 Env truncation mutants containing this sequence were also able to form cross-type hetero-oligomers with HIV-1 Env. HIV-2/HIV-1 hetero-oligomerization was, however, more sensitive to disruption by mutagenesis or increased temperature. The conservation of the Env oligomerization function of the HIV-1 and HIV-2 alpha-helical sequences suggests that retroviral TM alpha-helical motifs may have a universal role in oligomerization.