Poliovirus type 2 Sabin mutants were selected for drug resistance and dependence by plating on HeLa cell monolayers in the presence of 3(2H)-isoflavene, a compound related to dichloroflavan, which prevents the shut-off of host translation and poliovirus RNA and protein synthesis. The drug-resistant mutants grew equally well in the presence and in the absence of the drug, while the drug-dependent mutants only grew in the presence of the compound. One dependent and one resistant mutant were characterized biologically in more detail. The resistant mutant did not exhibit thermolability. The mild thermolability exhibited by the dependent mutant was not affected by the addition of 3(2H)-isoflavene, indicating that the substance does not bind the poliovirus type 2 Sabin capsid. The translation of viral proteins and the shut-off of host protein translation during cell infection were not inhibited in either mutant. In the absence of the drug, the cleavage of the precursor VPO, a step in virus protein processing, was affected in the dependent mutant. The dependence of the mutant on the drug was due to the inability of 75S empty particles to reach maturation: our results strongly suggest that this phenomenon is strictly dependent on the reduction of RNA synthesis, confirming the existence of a dynamic equilibrium between RNA production and genome encapsidation during the poliovirus replication cycle.


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