Influenza viruses, which had lost up to 99·999% infectivity by incubation with antibody (α) specific for the haemagglutinin (HA) or with monoclonal α-HA, attached on to and penetrated chick embryo fibroblast (CEF) cells to the same extent as non-neutralized virus. Neutralized virus was also uncoated efficiently as shown by the accumulation of virion RNA in the nucleus and virion envelope in the cytoplasm. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of virion RNA segments recovered from the nucleus or cytoplasm of cells inoculated with neutralized or non-neutralized virus showed that antibody did not potentiate degradation of RNA. However, these RNAs were not expressed since virus-induced proteins were not detected in cells to which neutralized virus had been added. Assay of virion transcriptase of neutralized virus showed that its activity was reduced up to sevenfold compared with non-neutralized virus, and annealing studies showed that no detectable transcription took place with neutralized virus. These studies support the conclusion that antibody directed specifically against the HA protein on the outer surface of the influenza virus particle neutralizes infectivity by inactivating virion transcriptase activity and it is suggested that antibody to HA brings about allosteric rearrangements in the HA molecule which are transmitted across the virus envelope to the interior of the particle.


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