Continuous cultivation of murine L cells infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus strain Armstrong leads to production of L(Arm) cells, which produce a predominantly cell-associated attenuated variant, the L(Arm) virus. The relatively few infectious particles that are released have lost the ability to form plaques on L cells and to cause illness in mice even if inoculated intracerebrally. Based on equal protein s, antigenicity and protein kinase activity, essentially identical results were obtained for the purified Armstrong and L(Arm) viruses. There was also no difference in production and release of particles with the potential to cause homologous interference. Such particles consisted of two types, one of which was highly susceptible to u.v.-irradiation, the other was highly resistant. In the case of the L(Arm) virus interfering particles, it appears that the u.v.-irradiation-susceptible forms represented infectious virus. Purified L(Arm) virus particles contained considerable quantities of subgenomic forms of (small) S- and (large) L-RNA and their complementary counterparts, which all appeared to be replicated autonomously in an unenriched manner.


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