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J Virol. 1985 Jul;55(1):126-32.

Characterization of nucleic acids in membrane vesicles from scrapie-infected hamster brain.


This study reports the partial characterization of nucleic acids present in gradient fractions enriched for large membrane vesicles from scrapie-infected and uninfected hamster brains. Labeling of phenol-extracted nucleic acids at the 3' or 5' ends revealed abundant amounts of low-molecular-weight RNA and little or no DNA. These nucleic acids survived nuclease treatment of membrane vesicles but were sensitive to RNase after phenol extraction. Analysis of 5'-end-labeled nucleic acids by one- and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis revealed an RNA of ca. 100 bases in preparations from scrapie-infected hamster brain that could not be detected in uninfected brain. The possibility that this apparently unique small RNA may result from tissue damage or abnormal RNA processing or may be a component of the infectious complex is discussed.

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