The effects of trypsin and chymotrypsin on the infectivity, morphology and antigenic properties of the Indiana and Brazil strains of vesicular stomatitis virus have been studied. Each enzyme reduced the infectivity of the Indiana strain by about 10000-fold but the infectivity of the Brazil strain was unaffected. Electron microscopy of the treated particles and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of the viral polypeptides showed that each enzyme removed all the surface projections of the Indiana virus but about one-third of the projections of the Brazil virus were resistant. Complement fixation tests showed that, in contrast to the complete removal of the antigenic activity from the surface of the Indiana virus, about one-third of the surface antigenic activity of the Brazil strain was retained. The enzymeresistant projections of the Brazil virus absorbed neutralizing antibody from the homologous antiserum but were much less active in stimulating the production of neutralizing antibody in guinea pigs although the level of complement fixing antibody produced was similar to that produced by the intact virus. Amino acid analysis also gave differences between the total and enzyme-resistant surface projections. These results suggest that, in contrast to the Indiana virus, the Brazil virus possesses two surface projections which differ in their resistance to proteolytic enzymes.


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