Cells which are infected with measles virus have been known for some time to contain inclusion material that is distinguishable from normal cellular components by application of traditional staining methods and observation in the light microscope. The fine structure of the inclusion material contained in HeLa cells infected with Edmonston strain of measles virus has been examined in the electron microscope. Two steps have been found necessary in this study: (1) the recognition by phase-contrast microscopy of the living cell of bodies that are defined as inclusion material when the cells are classically stained; and (2) the recognition in the electron microscope of inclusion-body material that had previously been identified in the living cell.
The fine structure of the nuclear and cytoplasmic inclusion material in osmium-treated cells was found to consist mainly of randomly arrayed filaments of low electron density. Dense, highly ordered arrays of filaments were found near the center of the nuclear inclusions, sometimes as a two-dimensional, nearly orthogonal arrangement. If the size of the measles virus is taken to be around 100 mµ in diameter, the strands seen in the inclusions cannot be fully formed virus.