Analysis of Messenger RNA within Virions of IBV
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The presence of subgenomic mRNAs (sgRNAs) in virions of infectious bronchitis virus was examined by probing Northern blots of RNA extracted from vinons using as a probe a cDNA of the 3’-terminal nucleocapsid protein (N) gene. The sgRNAs were readily detected even after extensive purification of virions and after RNase A treatment of virions. The molar ratio of gRNA to each sgRNA was in the range 25 to 400 for IBV-M41 and 10 to 30 for IBV-Beaudette. After comparison with the molar ratios of genomic to intracellular viral sgRNAs it was estimated that the efficiency of incorporation of gRNA into virions was approximately 100 to 500-fold greater than for sgRNAs in the case of M41 and 20 to 100-fold for Beaudette, depending on the sgRNA species. It is concluded that sgRNAs can be present within IBV virions. Approximately 1 in 3 Beaudette virions and 1 in 20 M41 particles might contain a single copy of one sgRNA.