Exposure of purified transmissible gastroenteritis virus, a porcine coronavirus, to non-ionic detergents resulted in the removal of the surface projections and > 98% of the virus lipid. Virus RNA was associated with a subviral particle which had a sedimentation coefficient of 650S, compared with 495S for the intact virion, and which banded in CsSO gradients at 1.295 g/ml. Negatively stained preparations of subviral particles were shown by electron microscopy to contain spherical particles of 60 to 70 nm diam., similar in appearance to those derived from oncornaviruses.

Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of the polypeptides from isolated subviral particles showed that these structures contained three of the four major virus structural proteins, the arginine-rich polypeptide VP2 and the two membrane glycopolypeptides VP3 and 4. The detergent-liberated surface projections, composed of a single species of sulphated glycopolypeptide, VP1, were isolated by rate-zonal centrifugation through sucrose gradients followed by precipitation with ammonium sulphate in the presence of bovine serum albumin.


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