Picornaviruses in general are quite heat-labile in the absence of cations (Wallis & Melnick, 1962). McGregor & Mayor (1968) showed that heating purified preparations of poliovirus and rhinovirus at 50° for 2 min. led to the extrusion of ribonucleoprotein strands. These results suggested that gentle heating of the virus particles at slightly lower temperatures might offer a more easily controllable method of degradation.

Suspensions of purified rhino- and poliovirus (0.1 ml.) were heated at 45° or 50° for various periods. After heating, the preparations were cooled immediately in an ice bath and specimens were prepared for electron microscopy. Poliovirus (C) when heated at 45° for 30 to 60 sec. appeared to lose portions of its capsid structure leaving ‘holes’ in the particle (Fig. 1). A diffuse amorphous core resembling a ‘puffball’ was then released from within the capsid leaving an empty shell (Fig. 2).


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