Rabies virus polysomes contained two sizes of messenger RNAs, one of which had a sedimentation value of 30S and another which sedimented at 12 to 16S. RNA extracted from infected cultures contained virion-size RNA, 42S, as well as 30S and 12 to 16S RNA species. Hybridization studies indicated that the 30S and 12 to 16S RNAs had nucleotide sequences which were complementary to virion RNA. RNA isolated from virus polysomes contained adenylate-rich sequences which were heterogeneous in size and were determined to be about 100 to 250 nucleotides in length on the basis of their migration rates in polyacrylamide gels. Acid-urea agarose gel electrophoresis established that the 30S RNA material was composed of a single RNA species (mol. wt. ⩾ 1.65 × 10), whereas the 12 to 16S material could be resolved into at least four distinct species whose mol. wt. ranged from 0.28 to 0.87 × 10. When labelled rabies-infected cell RNAs, which were purified by oligo(dT)-cellulose chromatography, were annealed to excess unlabelled virus RNA, digested with ribonuclease T and the RNA duplex molecules analysed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, five duplexes could be separated. The mol. wt. of these duplexes were estimated to be 3.2, 1.4, 0.96, 0.55 and 0.39 × 10, when compared to the known mol. wt. of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) RNA duplexes. This study suggests that the replicative processes of rabies virus are very similar to VSV and that rabies virus proteins are probably translated from smaller than virion-size RNAs.


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