The nature of the covalent and non-covalent bonds which are responsible for the maintenance of the morphological integrity of the herpes simplex virus type 1 nucleocapsid was examined. Virus particles were treated at various temperatures with mercaptoethanol, guanidine, or lithium iodide under neutral and alkaline conditions. After treatment with mercaptoethanol or lithium iodide, the virus particles morphologically resembled collapsed amorphous structures composed of loosely bound fibrous strands, which no longer retained the capsomeric detail. Subsequent exposure of these treated preparations to alkaline conditions or high concentrations of guanidine was required to break the bonds that held the strands together. It was not possible under the conditions employed in this study to selectively break the intercapsomeric bonds and thus release free intact capsomeres.


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