Trypsin enhancement of rotavirus infectivity: Mechanism of enhancement

S. M. Clark, J. R. Roth, M. L. Clark, B. B. Barnett, R. S. Spendlove

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116 Scopus citations


The infectivity of most rotaviruses is enhanced by treatment with trypsin. We studied the mechanism of enhancement by examining the effect of trypsin on rotavirus infectivity, aggregation, early interactions with host cells, and structure. The results indicated that trypsin does not increase levels of infectious virus by dispersion of aggregates or affect the efficiency or rate of attachment of virus to cells. A fraction of virus that was not infectious without trypsin treatment was found to attach to cells, but did not initiate antigen synthesis. When cells were infected with labeled, purified virus, increased levels of uncoated particles were found in cells infected with trypsin-treated virus. Infection of cells with trypsin-treated virus also led to greater levels of RNA synthesis early in the infection. The results suggest that trypsin converts a noninfectious fraction of virus into infectious virus by allowing this fraction to uncoat in the infected cell. Trypsin was found to cleave an 88,000-dalton structural polypeptide of bovine rotavirus generating 67,000- and 20,000-dalton cleavage products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)816-822
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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