Summary: A microbial agent was isolated previously from a case of Viluy encephalomyelitis and named the ‘KPN agent’ after the initials of the patient. Here a detailed characterization of nucleic acids extracted from the purified KPN agent is presented. The agent contains both DNA and RNA, and has its own tRNAs and some other low- RNAs, including 5S RNA. These findings, and the isolation of eukaryotic-type ribosomes, suggest that the KPN agent is not a virus, as believed before, but a more complex micro-organism, with protein-synthesizing capacity. The nucleotide sequence of the 5S RNA in the ribosomes of the KPN agent is identical with the sequence of 5S RNA of . The novel protozoan nature of the KPN agent is discussed in relation to other unusual properties of this micro-organism. Some implications of these results for the aetiology of Viluy encephalomyelitis are also discussed.


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