Urea has been used to remove the S1 spike glycopolypeptide from avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) strains M41 and Beaudette, without removing the S2 spike-anchoring glycopolypeptide. Reduction of the pH to 2·9 did not cause release of S1 although some S1 was released spontaneously from IBV Beaudette at pH 7·4. Virus that lacked S1 was no longer infectious or able to cause haemagglutination (HA). However, radiolabelled IBV that lacked S1 attached to erythrocytes and chick kidney cells to the same or similar extent as did intact virus. Treatment of IBV with a phospholipase C preparation, required to make IBV cause HA, did not increase binding of IBV to erythrocytes. The results indicate that while the attachment to cells of virus that lacks S1 is qualitatively different from that of intact virus, the decline in infectivity is the consequence of the loss of some other spike function.


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