Randall, Charles C. (University of Mississippi School of Medicine, Jackson) and Barbara M. Walker. Degradation of deoxyribonucleic acid and alteration of nucleic acid metabolism in suspension cultures of L-M cells infected with equine abortion virus. J. Bacteriol. 86:138–146. 1963.—Metabolic alterations in log-phase suspension cultures infected with equine abortion virus (EAV) were determined in L-M cells simultaneously labeled or prelabeled with H3- or C14-thymidine. Although infection produced an early stimulation of the uptake of labeled thymidine (TdR) into the acid-soluble fraction of concurrently labeled cells, incorporation of the isotope into deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was progressively inhibited. The specific activity of infected-cell DNA was 48% of the control at 24 hr. The rate of incorporation of isotope from 12 to 24 hr was 43 and 13 counts per min per μg of DNA per hr for control and infected cultures, respectively. Owing to degradation of DNA, synthesis could not be accurately determined with the concurrently labeled cells. On the other hand, with prelabeled cells, quantitative isotopic methods could be used to determine the amount of DNA synthesized by measuring dilution of specific activity, even though infection triggered degradation of DNA into acid-soluble components. With this method, the DNA synthesized in infected cultures for 24 hr was approximately five times greater than the slight net increase determined by the diphenylamine reaction. The specific activity of infected-cell DNA decreased and then remained fixed after 24 hr, with 53% of the radioactivity appearing in the medium by 48 hr. No radioactive CO2 was detected as a consequence of DNA degradation. Infected cells lost ribonucleic acid (RNA) as well as DNA; RNA and DNA were reduced by 64 and 50%, respectively, at 48 hr. The degradation of DNA was effectively inhibited by chelating agents in situ and is thought to be due to a deoxyribonuclease. Preliminary experiments with extracts of infected cells support this observation. The relationship of deoxyribonuclease to the synthesis of viral DNA remains to be determined
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