Chemical Modification of Viruses

  • H. Fraenkel-Conrat


Viruses were first subjected to chemical modification at a time when this was an approach generally used to characterize biologically active substances and when the nature and the complexity of viruses were not yet understood. After it had been established that viruses were composed of proteins, nucleic acids, and often also lipids, and that they had definite and different architectures and topographies, it became evident that the results of many modification reactions would be difficult to interpret, and such techniques were used less frequently with entire viruses. However, with focus on the results of modification of a specific virus component within the particle, such as the protein or the nucleic acid of the simple viruses, and disregarding “side reactions” of the other component(s), such reactions continued to be of some usefulness. This chapter will summarize the methods, purposes, and conclusions arrived at by chemical (and a few enzymatic) modification reactions of viruses. Photochemical modifications will be dealt with in the following two chapters. We will not discuss the much larger topic of reactions of the separated components or that of agents that bind by other than covalent linkage.


Chemical Modification Tobacco Mosaic Virus Maleic Anhydride Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Sulphur Mustard 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Fraenkel-Conrat
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Biology and Virus LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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