The growth of the Sabin strain of type 3 poliovirus is reduced at high temperatures compared to that of its virulent precursor strain Leon. Recombinant viruses have been generated from infectious cDNA clones and demonstrate that the temperature-sensitive (ts) phenotype is mainly attributable to a difference in residue 91 of the virion protein VP3. Examination of non-ts mutants derived or reveals the existence of second site mutations some of which are clearly able to suppress the ts phenotype. The location of residue 91 of VP3, and of a number of candidate suppressor mutations, in the atomic structure of the virion suggests that the ts phenotype may result in destabilization of the particle and that the suppressors may function by stabilizing specific interfaces. It is not yet clear whether the ts phenotype is expressed at the level of the particle or in the form of defects in assembly or uncoating of the virion, or all three.


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