The effect of increasing concentrations of dimethylsulphoxide (DMSO) on the stability of native and reconstituted tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) has been investigated by means of electron microscopy and infectivity assay. The removal of protein subunits from TMV by DMSO was found to be a stepwise process. Subunits are first removed from the 3′ OH end of the rod but at about 72% DMSO the site at which uncoating occurs shifts to the 5′ end. Studies with reconstituted and partially reconstituted TMV confirm the stepwise nature of the uncoating process. Complete uncoating of reconstituted TMV was found to occur at smaller DMSO concentrations than that of native TMV.


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