Identification of a packaged cellular mRNA in virions of Rous sarcoma virus

B. Adkins, T. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A novel messenger activity has been identified by in vitro translation of the 70S virion RNAs of a variety of avian leukosis and avian sarcoma viruses. When the 70S virion RNA complex was heat dissociated and the polyadenylated RNA was fractionated on neutral sucrose gradients, a plypeptide of 34,000 daltons (34K) was observed in the translation products of 18S polyadenylic acid-containing virion RNA. Aside from the p60(src)-related subgenomic messenger activities, this was the only prominent messenger activity that sedimented at <20S. It was determined that the 34K protein was not virally coded because (i) messenger activity for the 34K protein was not generated by mild alkaline hydrolysis of 35S genomic RNA, (ii) the 34K proteins synthesized in response to different virion RNAs had identical tryptic peptide maps, and (iii) the tryptic peptide map of the 34K protein coded for by virion RNA was identical to that of a major in vitro translation product of 34,000 daltons made from 18S uninfected chick cell polyadenylated RNA. The 18S RNA was shown to be contained within virion particles, rather than part of a cellular structure copurifying with virus preparations, by demonstrating the presence of 34K messenger activity in virion cores made from detergent-disrupted virus. This cellular mRNA, however, was not observed in the virion RNAs of Rous-associated virus type 0 and 2 avian leukosis viruses and therefore is not packaged by all avian retroviruses. Since no other cellular message has been detected by this assay, it seems likely that the 34K mRNA found in 70S virion RNA is the result of selective packaging of an abundant host cell mRNA by certain avian retroviruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-480
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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