The entry into host cells of Sindbis virus, vesicular stomatitis virus and Sendai virus

David P. Fan, Bartholomew M. Sefton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


We have compared the mechanisms of entry into host cells of three enveloped viruses: Sendai virus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and Sindbis virus. Virus entry by membrane fusion should antigenically modify the surface of a newly infected cell in such a way that it will be killed by anti-viral antibody and complement. On the other hand, virus entry by a mechanism involving uptake by the cell of the whole virion should not make cells sensitive to antibody and complement. As expected, cells newly infected with Sendai virus were readily and completely lysed by anti-Sendai antibody and complement. In marked contrast, however, cells newly infected with either Sindbis virus or VSV were killed by anti-viral antibody and complement only when infected at an extremely high multiplicity of infection, in excess of 1000 plaque-forming units per cell. We favor the following explanation for these results with Sindbis virus and VSV: a very large majority of the Sindbis and VSV virions entered the infected cells by some means other than membrane fusion, presumably engulfment of the whole particle. Efficient entry by way of membrane fusion may therefore not be a general characteristic of enveloped viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)985-992
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1978

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are indebted to Claudie Berdot for performing the endless plaque assays and to Tony Hunter for encouragement. This work was supported by grants from the NSF and the National Cancer Institute. D.P.F. is the recipient of a Career Research Development Award.


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