Pneumonia virus of mice (PVM) has been serially propagated in a line of baby hamster kidney (BHK21) cells. A maximum titer of 6.3 x 106 TCID50 per ml was obtained, and there was little variation in yield on serial passage.
PVM grown in BHK21 cells was antigenically similar to virus obtained from the mouse lung, but was somewhat less virulent for the mouse after 10 serial passages in these cells. Virus produced by BHK21 cells agglutinated mouse erythrocytes without prior heating or other treatment.
Sedimentation of PVM in the ultracentrifuge or precipitation by ammonium sulfate resulted in a loss in infectivity but an increase in hemagglutinating activity, presumably due to disruption of the virus particle. In a potassium tartrate density gradient, the major portion of infective virus sedimented at a density of approximately 1.15, and noninfective hemagglutinin, at a density of approximately 1.13. Stock virus preparations appear to contain a large amount of noninfective hemagglutinin.
The replication of PVM was not inhibited by 5-fluoro-2'-deoxyuridine, 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine, or 5-iodo-2'-deoxyuridine. Infected cells contained eosinophilic cytoplasmic inclusions which showed the acridine orange staining characteristic of single-stranded RNA. Foci of viral antigen were observed in the cytoplasm of infected cells by fluorescent antibody staining.
The results suggest that PVM is an RNA virus that replicates in the cytoplasm.