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Virology. 1984 Jul 15;136(1):211-20.

Further studies of the RNA synthesis phenotype selected during persistent infection with vesicular stomatitis virus.


Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) isolated from two independently established lines of persistently infected mouse L cells expressed an altered phenotype of RNA synthesis at 37 degrees, the temperature at which the persistently infected cultures were maintained (T.K. Frey and J.S. Youngner, 1982, J. Virol. 44, 167-174). In comparison to the viruses used to initiate the two lines, wild-type (wt) VSV and ts-0-23 (ts-, RNA+ complementation group III), the VSV expressing this RNA phenotype synthesized much less mRNA but equal or greater amounts of 40 S genomic RNA (rt- phenotype). In the line initiated with wt-VSV, at 17 days after initiation, when 85% of the clones were ts-, 36% of the ts- clones were rt-. By 63 days the VSV-PI population was uniformly ts- and rt- and this phenotype prevailed for at least 2 years of persistence. In the line initiated with ts-0-23, the rt- phenotype was stable for at least 3 years of persistence. To study the relationship of the ts- and rt- phenotypes which were coselected during persistence, ts+ revertants of a ts- rt- VSV-PI clone were isolated. All of the ts+ revertants expressed a wt-VSV phenotype of RNA synthesis at 37 degrees (rt+), indicating that the two phenotypic markers may be pleiotropic manifestations of the same mutation. rt-VSV inhibited host cell RNA and protein synthesis more slowly than did wt-VSV. However, rt-VSV synthesized equivalent or greater amounts of all the virus proteins, compared to wt-VSV, despite the reduced amount of mRNA transcription. The attenuated shutoff of host cell macromolecular synthesis by rt- VSV and the concomitant efficient 40 S genome replication and virus protein synthesis may in part explain the selective advantage of the rt- mutation during persistence. The rt- phenotype was not unique to persistent infection; ts- rt- mutants also evolved during serial undiluted passages of wt-VSV in L cells and one ts- rt- mutant was identified in a group of spontaneous mutants isolated from a wt-VSV stock.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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