The plasma membranes of BHK 21 cells infected with vesicular stomatitis virus react in complement-fixation tests with antiserum to uninfected BHK 21 cells and with antiserum to the glycosylated ‘spike’ protein found on the surface of the virus (protein G).

Depending upon the time after infection, the minor protein NS or the nucleoprotein N predominates in the cytoplasmic sap. During the synthesis of virus these two proteins are associated in the cell cytoplasm with the virus RNA in a complex having a similar sedimentation coefficient to that of the virus nucleocapsid (140 S).

The linkage of the nucleocapsid with the altered cellular membrane appears to be a function of the ‘matrix’ or ‘virus membrane protein’, protein M. In the BHK 21 system it has not been possible to demonstrate the intracellular presence of protein M although incubation of infected cells with [C]-labelled amino acids produced labelled protein M in the extracellular virus. The possibility that the rate of formation of this protein controls virus production is discussed.


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