Purified Sendai virus nucleocapsids isolated from infected cells were used to programme a transcription system to study virus-specific RNA synthesis. The RNA products were analysed for size by centrifugation before and after denaturation with formamide or glyoxal. The polarity of the products [message (+) or genome (-) strands] was analysed by RNA-RNA hybridization. The non-denatured RNA products sedimented in three groups: 7S to 22S single-stranded RNA transcripts and two partially ribonuclease-resistant complexes. One complex, representing 12% of the total product, sedimented at 26S to 36S. After denaturing the 26S to 36S complex to single-stranded molecules, about half of the RNAs sedimented at 25S to 54S and about half at 6S to 24S. The second complex, representing about 13% of the total RNA product, sedimented at 42S to 52S. After denaturing, about 10% of the single-stranded RNAs sedimented at 38S to 52S and about 90% sedimented at 6S to 19S. In hybridization studies, single-stranded RNAs that sedimented at < 19S were predominantly of message sense (+ strand), whereas RNAs that sedimented at 25S to 54S were a mixture of genome and anti-genome type. These results show that transcription and replication activities were associated with Sendai virus nucleocapsids obtained from infected cells and that some of the reaction products approached genome size.


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