We have measured the amounts of interferon formed by chick cells ‘aged’ in response to different amounts of infectious wild-type Sindbis virus. Our results suggest that one plaque-forming unit is enough to induce maximum interferon formation. With higher m.o.i. the yield of interferon is less.

To inactivate the interferon-inducing activity of Sindbis virus, four times more u.v.-radiation was needed than to inactivate the infectivity of the virus. This suggests that only 25% of the virus genome need be intact in order to induce interferon. Temperature-sensitive Sindbis virus mutants from the three RNA complementation groups, C, D and E, gave rise to interferon in chick cells incubated at a non-permissive temperature. Similarly, mutants from two of the RNA groups, B and F, gave rise to interferon, but not mutants from groups G and A.

We conclude that no pre-formed inducer of interferon is present in Sindbis virus. It appears, however, that genes G and A represent a special one-quarter of the genome which must be functional in order to synthesize an interferon-inducing moiety. We suggest that this moiety is a double-stranded RNA molecule formed after synthesis of a segment of RNA complementary to the genome.


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