Electron-microscopic studies have shown that rabies virus is bullet-shaped and resembles vesicular stomatitis and several other similarly shaped viruses (Hummeler, Koprowski & Wiktor, 1967; Simpson & Hauser, 1966; Murphy & Fields, 1967). Primarily on the basis of structural similarities, these bullet-shaped viruses are currently being classified together (Provisional Committee for Nomenclature of Viruses, 1965; Melnick & McCombs, 1966). Propagation in inhibitor-free suspension cultures of BHK 21 cells has recently made possible the demonstration of specific virus haemagglutinins of rabies and three other bullet-shaped viruses, vesicular stomatitis, Cocal and Kern Canyon (Halonen 1968). The success of this serum-free culture system as opposed to many previous failures to demonstrate a rabies haemagglutinin (Turner & Kaplan, 1967) parallels a similar situation with rubella virus (Halonen, Stewart & Hall, 1967), which is extremely sensitive to serum inhibitors. The present report concerns equilibrium sedimentation experiments in caesium chloride density gradients of concentrated preparations of rabies virus grown in suspension cultures of BHK 21 cells.


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