It is now well established that human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1) Nef contributes substantially to disease pathogenesis by augmenting virus replication and markedly perturbing T-cell function. The effect of Nef on host cell activation could be explained in part by its interaction with specific cellular proteins involved in signal transduction, including at least a member of the src family kinase, Lck, and the serine/threonine kinase, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). Recombinant Nef directly interacted with purified Lck and MAPK in coprecipitation experiments and binding assays. A proline-rich repeat sequence [(Pxx)4] in Nef occurring between amino acid residues 69 to 78 is highly conserved and bears strong resemblance to a defined consensus sequence identified as an SH3 binding domain present in several proteins which can interact with the SH3 domain of various signalling and cytoskeletal proteins. Binding and coprecipitation assays with short synthetic peptides corresponding to the proline-rich repeat sequence [(Pxx)4] of Nef and the SH2, SH3, or SH2 and SH3 domains of Lck revealed that the interaction between these two proteins is at least in part mediated by the proline repeat sequence of Nef and the SH3 domain of Lck. In addition to direct binding to full-length Nef, MAPK was also shown to bind the same proline repeat motif. Nef protein significantly decreased the in vitro kinase activity of Lck and MAPK. Inhibition of key members of signalling cascades, including those emanating from the T-cell receptor, by the HIV-1 Nef protein undoubtedly alters the ability of the infected T cell to respond to antigens or cytokines, facilitating HIV-1 replication and contributing to HIV-1-induced disease pathogenesis.