The involvement of lysosomes in infection by mouse hepatitis virus 3 (MHV) was studied. L cells were infected with MHV in the presence of NHCl or chloroquine, weak bases which increase the intralysosomal pH and impair lysosomal functions. NHCl significantly inhibited virus-induced cytopathic effects and MHV replication, but did not prevent the attachment of H-labelled virus. No inhibition of MHV replication by NHCl and chloroquine was observed when lysosomotropic agents were added later than 3 h post-infection, suggesting the direct involvement of lysosomes in release of the viral genome into cytoplasm. These results, together with the lack of antibody-mediated immune lysis of MHV-infected cells, suggest that MHV entered cells by an endocytic pathway (viropexis) followed by internalization into cellular lysosomes.


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