Purified preparations of molluscum contagiosum virus contain a DNA-dependent RNA polymerase (EC with similar but not identical properties to those of the enzyme found in vaccinia virions. The ultraviolet inactivation kinetics of the RNA polymerase from both viruses were similar, displaying fast and slow components. Ultraviolet irradiation destroyed the interfering capacities of molluscum and inactivated vaccinia virions, and the interferon-inducing capacity of molluscum virus slowly and with first-order kinetics. Inactivation studies of the interferon-inducing capacity of vaccinia virus were complicated by cytotoxic effects. Electron microscopical studies showed all stages of virus growth in vaccinia-infected mouse embryo cells; molluscum virus appeared to be degraded in lysosome-like bodies. In preliminary studies, marked changes in cytoplasmic RNA synthesis and in patterns of polypeptide synthesis were found in vaccinia-infected but not in molluscum-infected mouse embryo cells.


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