Electrophoretic data from both sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels (SDS-PAGE) and acid-urea gels reveal a protein in purified murine mammary tumor virus (MuMTV) which co-migrates with purified chick skeletal muscle actin. 125I-labeling of intact and disrupted virus preparations shows that the actin-like protein is not artifactually adsorbed to the outside of virions during isolation. Quantitative SDS-PAGE and examination of negatively stained preparations show that the actin cannot be accounted for by a contaminating population of virus-free vesicles. The ultrastructure of mammary epithelial cells and of Rous sarcoma virus-transformed chick embryo fibroblasts shows that virus extrusion is associated with filament-containing cellular processes. In particular, MuMTV is released from the ends of long microvilli which contain a bundle of 6-8-nm microfilaments and share other structural features with intestinal microvilli. We suggest that virus nucleoids require an interaction with host cell contractile proteins for their extrusion from the cell.

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