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Virology. 1984 Jan 30;132(2):401-12.

Establishment and analysis of a system which allows assembly and disassembly of alphavirus core-like particles under physiological conditions in vitro.


Core-like (CL) particles which closely resemble alphavirus cores in size, shape, and relative amount of nucleic acid and protein have been assembled in vitro from Sindbis (SIN) virus core (C) protein and single-stranded nucleic acids in buffer containing 1 M urea [G. Wengler, U. Boege, G. Wengler, H. Bischoff, and K. Wahn (1982) Virology 118, 401-410]. We have now analyzed the interaction of SIN virus C protein and nucleic acids in vitro under conditions designed to resemble those present in the cell during core assembly. In buffer containing 100 mM K-acetate, 1.7 mM Mg-acetate, pH 7.4, CL particles are efficiently assembled from all single-stranded nucleic acids analyzed, and even heparin and polyvinylsulfate are incorporated into such particles. A reticulocyte lysate translates SIN virus-specific mRNA into C protein under these ionic conditions. Interactions of C protein with nucleic acids and ribosomes in a reticulocyte lysate have also been analyzed. The following conclusions can be drawn from these analyses: (1) In accordance with earlier findings [N. Glanville and I. Ulmanen (1976) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 71, 393-399] the C protein translated in vitro efficiently binds to ribosomes. (2) Exogenously added C protein binds to the large subunit of the ribosomes in the lysate. (3) CL particles can be assembled in the lysate from exogenous added 42 S genome RNA and exogenous added C protein if both components are present at sufficiently high concentrations. (4) The C protein translated from viral mRNA in the lysate is transferred from the ribosomes into preassembled CL particles containing 42 S RNA in the lysate. (5) If only small amounts of CL particles are added into a lysate these particles disaggregate and core protein molecules are transferred from the particles to the large subunit of the ribosomes. The results on the assembly of CL particles in vitro allow the formulation of some hypotheses concerning the assembly and disassembly of core particles in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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