The main effects of the proteolytic digestion of the Asian (A2) strain of influenza virus were a loss of the characteristic surface morphology and a change in density. The untreated virus was found to have a density of 1.204 g./cm. on a sucrose gradient, but after protease action the density was 1.168 g./cm.. The density change was correlated with a change in particle mass as indicated by a fall in sedimentation coefficient ( ) from the normal 788 Svedbergs to 562 Svedbergs.

From the data obtained with the protease-treated and control virus preparations it was calculated that the changes observed could be accounted for by a loss of 35 to 40% of the particle mass. The action of the protease appeared to be confined to the surface of the virus. Concomitantly with the destruction of the haemagglutinating activity there was a release of neuraminidase activity, and on a density gradient this could be separated from the residual virus and was located at the top of the gradient tube. In addition to the changes described, there appeared to be a destruction of the virus V antigen.


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