Infection of mouse L.CD46 fibroblasts with measles virus resulted in a poor virus yield, although no defects in the steps of virus binding, entry or fusion, were detected. Two days post-infection, the level of expression of the viral F protein was found to be similar on the surface of infected L.CD46 and HeLa cells using a virus multiplicity enabling an equal number of cells to be infected. After immunofluorescence labelling and confocal microscopy, L.CD46 cells also displayed a significant increase in the co-localisation of the N protein with the cell surface H and F proteins. Immunogold labelling and transmission electron microscopy demonstrated the accumulation of numerous nucleocapsids near the plasma membrane of L. CD46 cells with little virus budding, in contrast to infected HeLa cells which displayed fewer cortical nucleocapsids and more enveloped viral particles. Purified virus particles from infected L. CD46 contained a reduced amount of H, F and M protein. Altogether, these data indicate that, in L.CD46 cells, the late stage of measles virus assembly is defective. This cellular model will be helpful for the identification of cellular factors controlling measles virus maturation.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.