Electron microscopic study has revealed the morphological entity responsible for the rise in viral hemagglutinin observed in brains of mice after intracerebral inoculation of non-neurotropic strains of influenza virus. This rise in hemagglutinin, although dependent on inoculation of fully infectious virus, is not associated with an increase in infectious titer. The hemagglutinating principle is functionally similar to the "incomplete" influenza virus which can be obtained from chick embryos by serial egg-to-egg transfer of undiluted, infected allantoic fluid according to the method of von Magnus.
A method has been described which facilitates selective adsorption of viral particles recovered from organ extracts on saponine-lysed ghosts of fowl erythrocytes. This procedure has been utilized in studying the morphology of non-infectious, hemagglutinating virus from chorio-allantoic membranes or mouse brains and in comparing these two forms with each other and with ordinary, infectious (standard) influenza virus.
Standard virus isolated from allantoic fluids or membranes of infected eggs was found to contain uniform particles of predominantly spherical shape with smooth surface and even density, resembling those described by others. The appearance of such particles was not affected by the procedure of extraction and concentration used.
In contrast, non-infectious, hemagglutinating virus obtained either from allantoic sacs ("undiluted passages") or from mouse brain was pleomorphic and seemed to consist of disintegrating particles. The majority appeared flattened and bag-like and had a rough, granular surface and reduced, uneven density. 37 per cent of the non-infectious particles isolated from mouse brain infected with the non-neurotropic strain WS had diameters in excess of 170 mµ, as compared with only 2 per cent of the particles of the parent strain itself.
Regardless of whether or not the contrast in appearance of standard and of non-infectious particles was due to differing resistance to the preparatory treatment, it indicated the existence of basic structural differences between the two types of virus.
Correlation of particle counts with hemagglutinin titers has shown that the non-infectious virus obtained from mouse brain is, unit for unit, an equivalent counterpart of standard virus derived from infected eggs. The end-point of hemagglutination in a pattern test corresponds for both forms to that dilution at which the ratio virus particles/red cells approaches one. The quantitative data based on particle counts support the assumption that non-infectious virus arises in mouse brain as a product of viral multiplication.