Serial subculture of Vero cells infected with the chick embryo adapted Enders strain of mumps virus gives rise to a low level productive though persistent infection. Persistently infected cultures exhibit minimal cytopathology; however, widely dispersed foci of multinucleate cells are almost always present. Neither infected cell nor virus growth is temperature sensitive. Biological and biochemical evidence indicate that defective interfering particles are replicated along with infectious (nondefective) virus during the course of the persistent infection, although the plaque-purified inoculum virus stock contained only genome size RNA. With continued cell passage a heterogeneous, changing population of subgenomic sized viral RNA accumulates, suggesting that defective interfering (DI) RNA species are evolving from virion RNA, with no single DI RNA predominating. Since such factors as interferon, antibody, and temperature-sensitive mutants are absent from this system, DI particles are the likely factor modulating this persistent infection.
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