Using monoclonal antibodies and indirect immunofluorescence microscopy, we investigated the distribution of the M protein in situ in vesicular stomatitis virus-(VSV) infected MDCK cells. M protein was observed free in the cytoplasm and associated with the plasma membrane. Using the ts045 mutant of VSV to uncouple the synthesis and transport of the VSV G protein we demonstrated that this distribution was not related to the presence of G protein on the cell surface. Sections of epon-embedded infected cells labeled with antibody to the M protein and processed for indirect horseradish peroxidase immunocytochemistry revealed that the M protein was associated specifically with the basolateral plasma membrane. The G and M proteins of VSV have therefore evolved features which bring them independently to the basolateral membrane of polarized epithelial cells and allow virus to bud specifically from that membrane.

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