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Cell. 1979 Nov;18(3):759-69.

Characterization of a new isolate of poliovirus defective interfering particles.


An independent isolate of poliovirus defective interfering particles has been analyzed. These particles, designated DI(A), are apparently analogous to the DI particles described by Baltimore and co-investigators. Electron microscopic heteroduplex analysis reveals that the DI(A) isolate is a mixture of deletion mutants which changes with passage level. The DI(A) population consists of at least five distinct deletion mutants, including one double deletion. Electron microscopic mapping of the deleted regions indicates that most, if not all, of the viral capsid region can be deleted. Despite this heterogeneity, the mutant genomes are quite similar in physical size. We propose a model which suggests that the observed properties of poliovirus DI genomes reflect selective pressures extant during the amplification of the mutant genome. According to this model, only those deleted genomes which retain a minimal size and the capacity to synthesize a functional viral polymerase will replicate successfully in a mixed infection. Furthermore, this model proposes a mechanism for the enrichment of poliovirus DI genomes and an explanation for the low level of complementation observed in mixed infections of picornaviruses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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