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J Virol. Jan 1997; 71(1): 507–511.
PMCID: PMC191079

Characterization of the ion channels formed by poliovirus in planar lipid membranes.


The steps in poliovirus infection leading to viral entry and uncoating are not well understood. Current evidence suggests that the virus first binds to a plasma membrane-bound receptor present in viable cells, leading to a conformational rearrangement of the viral proteins such that the virus crosses the membrane and releases the genomic RNA. The studies described in this report were undertaken to determine if poliovirus (160S) as well as one of the subviral particles (135S) could interact with membranes lacking poliovirus receptors in an effort to begin to understand the process of uncoating of the virus. We report that both forms of viral particles, 160S and 135S, interact with lipid membranes and induce the formation of ion-permeable channels in a manner that does not require acid pH. The channels induced by the viral particles 160S have a voltage-dependent conductance which depends on the ionic composition of the medium. Our findings raise the possibility that viral entry into cells may be mediated by direct interaction of viral surface proteins with membrane lipids.

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Selected References

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