The ribonucleoprotein (RNP) of avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) was examined by electron microscopy after shadowing with carbon/platinum. Linear RNP strands up to 6.7 µm in length, from three IBV strains, were sensitive to both pancreatic RNase and to proteases. These strands were obtained from spontaneously disrupted complete particles but not from disrupted incomplete particles that lacked RNP. They were also released from Nonidet P40-disrupted particles and could be isolated on sucrose density gradients at a density of 1.27 g/ml. In some cases, helical RNP complexes associated with virus particles were observed that were similar to RNPs of human coronavirus strain 229E and mouse hepatitis virus strain 3.


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