A direct correlation was found between the affinity of certain cardioactive sterols for the binding site of (Na, K)-dependent ATPase and their capacity to raise poliovirus yields in single cycles of infection in suspended monkey kidney cells. The latter effect was due to an improved efficiency of infection by the attached particles rather than to higher yields/cell.

The average number of p.f.u. attached/cell within a certain time was directly proportional to the number of free p.f.u. initially present. In untreated systems, the efficiency of initiation of infection was low and was not directly related to the average number of p.f.u. attached/cell. The addition of digitoxin exalted the efficiency of the initiation of infection to a constant level at any number higher than one of free p.f.u. initially present.

A brief reference is made to the mathematical treatment of these findings.

As a possible explanation of the phenomenon we propose that the polio receptor is a metastable pattern of macromolecules. The time of existence of a structure fully complementary to the attachment site(s) for virus may control the chance of reception and initiation of infection. The stabilization of a given conformational state for all or most (Na, K)-dependent ATPase molecules is believed to prolong the time of existence of the specific structural state required for reception and infection.


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