Twelve temperature-sensitive () mutants of Sindbis were examined for their ability to establish persistent infection in BHK-21 cells at 39 °C. Five of these mutants were able to initiate colony formation in infected cultures, which followed an extensive c.p.e. Two of the mutants were able to establish persistent infections which survived beyond the fifth cell passage p.i. The ability to initiate colony formation was correlated with low reversion of the mutation, or with ability to interfere with the multiplication of the wild-type virus. Virus released from persistently infected cultures was not temperature-sensitive. The restriction of virus multiplication in persistently infected cells operated prior to virus-specified RNA synthesis. It is concluded that in this system establishment of persistent infection depends on an inhibition of virus multiplication early in infection and occurs in only a small proportion of infected cells.


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