Six temperature-sensitive mutants of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) were isolated from the central nervous system (CNS) of athymic nude mice. The nude mice had been reconstituted with syngeneic T lymphocytes and then infected with a temperature-sensitive mutant of VSV, tsG31-KS5 VSV, for 20 days. In BHK-21 cells incubated at 38 °C, the normal body temperature of mice, all six CNS virus clones had diminished RNA synthesis, when compared to RNA production in BHK-21 cells incubated at 31 °C. In contrast, the original tsG31-KS5 VSV mutant synthesized more RNA at 38 °C than it did at 31 °C. transcription assays were exploited to discern which viral protein(s) was functionally accountable for the abated synthesis of RNA of the CNS VSV isolates. The ribonucleoprotein complexes from the CNS VSV isolates were disrupted and template (N protein and RNA) and enzyme (L and NS proteins) fractions were purified. transcription assays were performed with template fractions of the brain isolates, added to enzyme fractions either wild-type wt VSV or tsG31-KS5 VSV, or with template fractions of wt VSV or tsG31-KS5 VSV mixed with enzyme fractions of the CNS isolates. The template fraction was responsible for the decrease in RNA synthesis in all six of the brain-isolated clones. When the template fractions of wt or tsG31-KS5 VSV were mixed with enzyme fractions of all the CNS-derived VSV, except BP5A VSV, leader sequence RNA and large transcripts were transcribed. One clone, BP5A VSV, did not synthesize RNA when mixed with either template or enzyme of wt VSV, and probably had more than one functional mutation that influenced viral RNA synthesis.


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