Ribonucleic acid prepared by the method of Gierer and Schramm from concentrated and partially purified types I and II polioviruses has been demonstrated to be infectious for HeLa and human amnion cells in monolayers. In areas of cytopathogenic action resulting from invasion of cells by RNA, intact poliovirus, of the type from which the RNA had been prepared, is present.
The infectivity of the RNA was completely inactivated by a 2 minute exposure to purified ribonuclease or to whole normal monkey serum shown to contain measurable concentrations of this enzyme. Whole virus infectivity was not influenced by RNAase or whole normal monkey serum. Normal and polio-immune globulin, desoxyribonuclease, lysozyme, proteolytic enzymes, and bovine albumin failed to inactivate the infectivity of RNA.
The degree of infectivity of isolated RNA from poliovirus for cells in monolayer was greatly influenced by the ionic strength of the environment.
The experimental evidence suggests that isolated poliovirus RNA is the carrier of the biological activity responsible for infection of cells and for transmission of genetic information which controls type specificity.