Presence of infectious polyadenylated RNA in coronavirus avian bronchitis virus

Schochetman, G.; Stevens, R.H.; Simpson, R.W.

Virology 77(2): 772-782


ISSN/ISBN: 0042-6822
PMID: 193262
DOI: 10.1016/0042-6822(77)90498-6
Accession: 068523510

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Avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) was radiolabeled for its nucleic acid component by growth in de-embryonated chicken eggs. Purified virions of IBV have a buoyant density in linear sucrose gradients of 1.17-1.18 g/cm3 and contain .apprx. 4% RNA by wt. The genomic RNA of IBV consists of 1 size class of single-stranded RNA having a MW of 5.5-5.7 .times. 106 and a sedimentation coefficient of .apprx. 48 S. No evidence for subunit structure is apparent since the RNA resolves as a single species with the same electrophoretic mobility in polyacrylamide gels before and after heat denaturation. At least 20-30% of the RNA molecules extracted from purified virions contain sequences of poly(A) of .apprx. 4 S size. RNA obtained from detergent-disrupted virus particles by phenol-chloroform extraction is infectious for cultures of chick embryo fibroblasts, giving rise to progeny virus which is lethal for embryonated eggs. These findings and the observation that IBV virions do not exhibit detectable transcriptase activity indicate that the genome of this coronavirus acts directly as a mRNA in eukaryotic cells.