Sodium bisulphite modification of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) RNA in solution indicates that the majority of the poly(C) tract in the RNA is single-stranded in concordance with previous results with encephalomyocarditis virus RNA. The reaction kinetics are biphasic; 60% of the cytidylic acid in the poly(C) tract reacts like synthetic poly(C), and the remainder with the kinetics of the cytidylic acid in the rest of the RNA. The reactivity of the poly(C) tract with poly(I) indicates that it is looped out and exposed in the RNA. The deamination reaction has also been used to investigate the structure of the replicative form (RF) and replicative intermediate (RI) isolated from infected cells. Analysis by gel electrophoresis of the long RNase A- and T-resistant oligonucleotides of RI suggests that it has five single-stranded poly(C) tracts to every one which is base-paired. Bisulphite reactivity of the poly(C) tract and gel electrophoresis of the ribonuclease-resistant oligonucleotides of RF indicate that the poly(C) is base-paired to a poly(G) tract in this molecule. The presence of a poly(G) tract in RF and RI provides unequivocal evidence that the poly(C) is replicated via poly(G) in the negative strand.


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