Antiviral effects of prostaglandins of the A series (PGAs) on Sendai, vaccinia and vesicular stomatitis viruses have previously been reported and a relationship between the antiviral actions of PGAs and interferons has been suggested. We have investigated the antiviral activity of PGAs on encephalomyocarditis (EMC) virus. Using single-cycle assays of virus replication our results indicate that PGAs only inhibit when present in the culture medium after the cells are infected, and that they are most effective during incubation periods including from 3 to 5 h post-infection. Furthermore, viral RNA synthesis is blocked in infected cells treated with PGA and, as a result, viral antigens are greatly reduced in the cytoplasm of the cells 5 h post-infection. Since the antiviral effect of PGAs is unperturbed by actinomycin D, when cellular RNA synthesis is greatly reduced, it appears unlikely that induction of new cellular proteins is the reason for the antiviral activity of PGAs. In separate experiments we were unable to demonstrate directly the induction of interferon, or of the two dsRNA-dependent enzymes, 2′,5′-oligoadenylate synthetase and protein kinase, which are greatly increased in interferon-treated cells. Thus, we conclude that the antiviral activity of PGAs is unrelated to the antiviral action of interferons and involves a unique mechanism independent of cellular protein synthesis.


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