Defective interfering Semliki Forest virus (DI SFV) inhibited virus RNA and virus polypeptide synthesis in cells coinfected with standard virus but did not delay or alter kinetics of RNA synthesis. Inhibition of polypeptide synthesis was 20-fold greater than that of RNA synthesis which presumably reflected the amplification resulting from cumulative translation of mRNAs. At high concentration, DI virus p12e inhibited the shutoff of host protein synthesis and allowed no synthesis of structural or nonstructural polypeptides. Dilution of DI virus restored the inhibition of host protein synthesis but further dilution was necessary before virus-specified polypeptide synthesis could be demonstrated. Another DI virus (p20a) with the same interference titre as p12e also inhibited shutoff of host protein synthesis but synthesis of virus-induced polypeptides was inhibited differentially: significant amounts of polypeptides comigrating with the structural precursor polypeptide p62 and the nonstructural polypeptide nsp63 were present and the synthesis of nsp90 was little affected at any concentration of DI virus p20a tested. None of the DI viruses tested induced the synthesis of any viral or novel polypeptide. It was concluded that DI SFV preparations have qualitatively different interfering activities in relation to their effects on virus and host cell polypeptide synthesis.
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