Chromatographic behavior of whole type 1 poliovirus and phenol-extracted viral RNA on diethylaminoethyl cellulose columns, as revealed by assay of plaque-forming capacity, indicated that infectious RNA had surface properties markedly different from those of the intact virus.
Infectious RNA of type 1 poliovirus and Coxsackie B1 virus was relatively resistant to heat inactivation as compared to intact virus. Kinetics of inactivation at elevated temperatures were multi-hit in character.
The structure of infectious enterovirus RNA was investigated by treatment with chemical inactivating agents. Urea and guanidine as hydrogen bond-disrupting agents, and mercaptoethanol and thioglycolate as disulfide bond-disrupting agents, and combinations of these did not destroy RNA infectivity whereas hydrogen bond-disrupting treatment inactivated intact virus rapidly. RNA infectivity was not reduced by chloroform extraction alone, or by octanol extraction alone, but was reduced by chloroform-octanol extraction which failed to depolymerize RNA to an extent detectable by ultracentrifugal analysis. Infectivity of type 1 poliovirus and Coxsackie B1 virus RNA was destroyed in accordance with first order kinetics by very dilute solutions of pancreatic ribonuclease, and by purified snake venom phosphodiesterase, but not at all by bacterial alkaline phosphatase. Inactivation by venom diesterase was not accelerated by prior treatment of RNA with bacterial alkaline phosphatase. These results indicated that infectivity of enteroviral RNA resided in a single stranded structure, that a single break of a phosphodiester bond anywhere along the structure was sufficient to destroy infectivity, and that infectivity did not require a terminal phosphate group.
Hydroxylamine, but not other carbonyl reagents, rapidly destroyed infectivity of intact type 1 poliovirus viral RNA without depolymerization of RNA-detectable by behavior in the analytical ultracentrifuge.
With S35-methionine-labeled poliovirus a very small fraction of radioactivity remained in RNA preparations following phenol extraction.
No evidence could be obtained to indicate that infectious enteroviral RNA was composed of subunits.
RNA extracted with phenol during the course of infection of HeLa cells with type 1 poliovirus resembled RNA obtained from purified whole virus with respect to heat inactivation, hydroxylamine inactivation, chromatographic separation, susceptibility to protein denaturing agents, and ability to infect productively both naturally susceptible HeLa cells and naturally insusceptible L strain mouse cells. Intracellular production of infectious RNA paralleled intracellular maturation of whole virus and preceded it by a very short interval.