A mutant (MO-5) resistant to monensin (an ionophoric antibiotic) derived from the mouse Balb/3T3 cell line, was a poor host for vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) or semliki forest virus (SFV) multiplication. The yield of VSV particles in MO-5 is one 100-fold reduced as is VSV-dependent RNA synthesis. In contrast to a pH-remedial mutant, the abortive production of infectious VSV particles in MO-5 cells was not restored by low pH treatment. The pH values in the endosome and the lysosome of MO-5 cells were 5.2 and 5.4, respectively, values that were comparable to the pH value in Balb/3T3 cells. Assays with [3H]uridine-labeled VSV indicated similar binding of VSV in MO-5: percoll gradient centrifugation analysis of [35S]methionine-labeled VSV-infected Balb/3T3 showed accumulation of VSV in the lysosome fraction 20 min after VSV infection, whereas VSV can be found mainly in endosome/Golgi fraction of MO-5 cells after 40 to 60 min on the percoll gradients. Degradation of [35S]methionine-labeled VSV was observed at a significant rate in Balb/3T3 cells, but not in MO-5 cells. The monensin-resistant somatic cell may thus provide a genetic route to study the mechanism of endocytosis or transport of enveloped viruses.

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