The phenotypes of two complementing temperature-sensitive (ts) mutants of respiratory syncytial (RS) virus indicate that the mutational lesions involve the attachment (G) and matrix (M) proteins of the viral envelope. Synthesis of the G protein was affected in cells infected with mutant A2 (complementation group B); the p50 precursor of the G protein was synthesized normally, but further maturation to the fully glycosylated form was defective at 39 °C. A non-ts alteration in the efficiency of cleavage of the F precursor to the F and F subunits of the fusion protein was also observed in A2-infected cells, which is consistent with the aberrant non-syncytial plaque morphology induced by A2 in certain cells. In cells infected with mutant N1 (complementation group D) the M protein disappeared from the soluble cytoplasmic fraction soon after synthesis at 39 °C and had a slightly decreased electrophoretic mobility. The M protein of non-ts revertants was stable at 39 °C, which links the defect in M protein stability with the N1 phenotype. However, the aberrant mobility phenotype remained, suggesting pseudoreversion. These results assign two of the eight complementation groups of ts mutants of RS virus.


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