Twenty-one temperature-sensitive mutants of Semliki Forest virus were classified by measurement of their capacity to make virus RNA. The RNA mutants were defective in a very early step in virus multiplication; possibly in the formation of functional polymerase enzyme. The RNA mutants investigated were all defective in their capacity to make the virus envelope protein. All the mutants were capable of inducing interferon formation but two different types of induction could be distinguished. At high multiplicities, both classes of mutant and the wild type induced interferon production without requiring virus RNA synthesis, while at lower multiplicities interferon production depended on the synthesis of virus RNA. It was concluded that at high multiplicities the inducer was newly synthesized RNA. However, a number of the RNA mutants were less efficient interferon inducers than the wild type, and at low multiplicities synthesised virus RNA but not interferon.


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