Studies of defective interfering (DI) RNAs of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), suggest that a 69 nt-long packaging signal, which is located about 20 kb from the 5'-end of the 31 kb-long MHV genomic RNA, is necessary and sufficient for MHV genomic RNA packaging into MHV particles. We demonstrated that use of a low pH culture medium combined with subsequent ultrafiltration increased MHV infectivity about 60 times over MHV preparations grown in neutral medium. Using this virus concentration procedure, we successfully prepared DI particle-rich MHV preparations. Characterization of virus samples released from the cells infected with DI particle-rich MHV revealed that infectious MHV genomic RNA was not required for packaging of DI RNAs. These data suggested that interaction of the DI packaging signal with an unidentified region(s) of helper virus genomic RNA is unlikely, and therefore unlikely to facilitate the packaging of MHV DI RNA into the MHV virion. Rather, both DI RNA and MHV genomic RNA probably use the packaging signal for RNA packaging.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)