Rabbit cornea cells (RC-60) restrict the reproduction of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) (Thacore & Youngner, 1975). In cells infected with VSV alone, an inhibition in the synthesis of VSV genome RNA is observed. A number of parameters which could affect virus RNA synthesis have been examined: virus transcription and post-transcriptional modification, translation, modification of proteins and migration of the G protein to the surface of the cell; they all appear to be normal, although somewhat diminished, in the restricted system. In these cells, therefore, it is the replication of VSV RNA that is directly inhibited, although limited synthesis of both (+) and (-) strand genome length RNA does occur. When the cells are co-infected with rabbit poxvirus (RPV) as a helper virus, however, VSV production is normal. Our studies suggest that RPV plays a role in the maturation as well as in the replication of VSV RNA in RC-60 cells. Certain mutants of RPV have been found to lack the helper function and are unable to convert the RC-60 cells into a permissive host for VSV. These mutants should facilitate the elucidation of the mechanism by which RPV is able to overcome the restriction in these cells.


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