The structural polypeptides of two strains of measles virus grown in Vero cells were analysed in SDS-PAGE slab gels. Six major polypeptides were identified with mol. wt. of 79000, 72000, 60000, 43000, 40000 and 36000. The largest polypeptide was sensitive to trypsin digestion and was the dominant glycosylated polypeptide identified when the virus was grown in medium containing H-fucose or H-glucosamine or when the virus was treated with galactose oxidase and labelled with H-sodium borohydride. It is concluded that the 79000 mol. wt. polypeptide represents the haemagglutinin. Treatment with non-ionic detergent removed this polypeptide and also the 40000 mol. wt. polypeptide from the virus envelope. The 40000 mol. wt. polypeptide is probably associated with haemolysin and cell fusion activities and is analogous to the F of paramyxoviruses. A polypeptide of mol. wt. approx. 20000 detected after glycoprotein labelling may represent the F of measles virus. The 43000 mol. wt. polypeptide co-migrates with cellular actin and is the only major measles polypeptide that is heavily labelled when the virus is grown on Vero cells prelabelled with S-methionine. Thus it may represent cellular actin incorporated into the virus during maturation. The quantity of the 72000 mol. wt. polypeptide relative to the other major polypeptides varied considerably in different virus preparations. The role of the polypeptide could not be defined. By analogy with previously published data the 60000 and 36000 mol. wt. polypeptides are inferred to represent nucleocapsid and membrane proteins, respectively.


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