Encephalomyocarditis (EMC) virus RNA, selected by its affinity for oligo(dT)-cellulose, contains poly(A) of size: (i) about 14 nucleotide residues long, based on the percentage of radioactivity in the RNA resistant to digestion by a mixture of pancreatic and T1 RNases; (ii) about 15 residues long, as measured by the ratio of the amount of terminal adenosine to internal adenylic acid in isolated poly(A); and (iii) in the range 12 to 45 residues, the majority of tracts being about 16 to 18 residues long, based upon electrophoretic mobility on polyacrylamide gels using poly(A) molecules of known size as mol. wt. markers.

The poly(A) appears to be located at the 3′-terminus of the virus genome since the tract, liberated by digestion with a mixture of pancreatic and T1 RNases, was shown by compositional analysis to contain a non-phosphorylated 3′-terminus and only adenine residues. The size heterogeneity in the poly(A) tracts revealed by gel electrophoresis is also consistent with a terminal location.

Comparison of our data for EMC virus with published data for other picornaviruses suggests that the sizes of poly(A) tracts in polio- and Mengovirus RNA have been overestimated; poly(A) tracts in cardioviruses appear to be smaller than those in poliovirus; the minimum size of poly(A) required for full infectivity of picornavirus RNA has also been overestimated; a tract of at least 13 adenine residues long is required for full infectivity of EMC virus RNA.


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