The role of methionine in poliovirus infection in HeLa and monkey kidney cells was investigated by using the methionine analogue l-ethionine. In the presence of 2.0 x 10–3 and 4.0 x 10–3 moles ethionine, the growth of HeLa and monkey kidney cells was significantly inhibited. Under the same experimental conditions, ethionine had no significant effect on the biosynthesis of two strains of poliovirus (Mahoney and Lansing) in HeLa cells, whereas in primary monkey kidney cells, it markedly inhibited the biosynthesis of the Lansing strain of poliovirus. HeLa cells partly depleted of their intracellular amino acids did not change the rate of viral biosynthesis.
The inhibitory effect of ethionine on cell growth and viral biosynthesis was reversed by addition of an excess of l-methionine.