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Polar uncoating of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) with dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) and subsequent reassembly of partially stripped TMV

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Increasing concentrations of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) strip tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) stepwise from the 3′ end. The RNA tail increases in length up to 2,000 nucleotides (nu) reaching a region of very strong protein-RNA affinity. Thereafter, uncoating occurs from the other end and produces a second RNA tail 500 nu long. Further stripping of TMV proceeds from both ends, the long tail increasing in length up to 4,000 nu and the short one increasing more moderately and remaining below 2,000 nu. The region of strongest protein-RNA affinity is located between 4,000 and 5,000 nu away from the 3′ end.

Using the same conditions as for in vitro TMV reassembly, it is possible to recoat the RNA tails with viral protein preferentially in the 5′ direction.

The advantages of DMSO in studies of TMV protein-RNA interactions are discussed.

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Correspondence to Anatole Nicolaïeff.

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Communicated by H.G. Wittmann

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Nicolaïeff, A., Lebeurier, G. Polar uncoating of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) with dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) and subsequent reassembly of partially stripped TMV. Molec. Gen. Genet. 171, 327–333 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00267588

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  • Nucleotide
  • DMSO
  • Dimethylsulfoxide
  • Mosaic Virus
  • Viral Protein