The elevation of culture temperatures from 35 °C to 39°C led to the cessation of the synthesis of the fusion (F) protein of measles virus. This effect was caused by inhibition of the translation of the corresponding mRNA rather than by a decrease in the synthesis or stability of the mRNA or by increased degradation of the F protein at elevated temperatures. The haemagglutinin (H) and F mRNAs were distributed differently in gradients on which polysomes were fractionated. The H mRNA was present almost exclusively in the largest polysomes whereas the F mRNA was more evently distributed over large and small polysomes. The distribution was not affected by a temperature shift. The inhibition of F protein synthesis thus appeared to be related to a cessation of elongation of the nascent polypeptide chain rather than to a defect in initiation of the translation of the F mRNA at 39 °C.


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