Intracellular nucleocapsids, virtually free of host proteins and nucleic acids, were purified from cells acutely infected with several strains of mumps virus. Viral RNA obtained from the nucleocapsids was predominantly a single 50S species, with 28S RNA occurring as a secondary peak in the RNA profile. Nucleocapsids yielded approx. 9 μg 50S RNA per 109 infected cells. The 50S RNA was partially self-complementary, indicating that mumps viral nucleocapsids include full-length plus (+) sense antigenomes. Self-annealing and competition hybridization assays with 50S RNA suggest that 28S RNA includes duplexes consisting of full-length (+) and minus (-) sense 50S RNA. Properties of the viral RNA did not vary with the method of RNA isolation, time post-infection at which nucleocapsids were harvested, nor the strain of mumps virus.
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