Archives of Virology

, Volume 122, Issue 1–2, pp 95–106 | Cite as

Replication complexes associated with the morphogenesis of rubella virus

  • J. -Y. Lee
  • J. A. Marshall
  • D. S. Bowden
Original Papers


Thin section electron microscopy was used to investigate cellular changes associated with the replication of rubella virus (RV) in Vero cells and to compare these changes to those of the related alphavirus, Semliki Forest virus (SFV). Conspicuous membrane-bound cytoplasmic vacuoles analogous to the alphavirus replication complexes were observed in RV infected cells but not in mock infected cells. The vacuoles were characterised by membrane-bound vesicles measuring about 60 nm which often displayed an irregular dense core and/or a network of fibres. These vesicles were morphologically distinct from RV particles and were generally located at regular intervals on the inner side of the surrounding membrane of the RV replication complex. Degenerating cellular material was often found in the membrane-bound vacuole of a replication complex. The replication complexes were intimately associated with the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER), which was localised 45–75 nm from the surrounding membrane of the replication complex. Parallel studies of replication complexes in SFV infected cells did not reveal such an intimate association with the RER. RV replication complexes appeared as early as 8 h post infection (p.i.), before detection of RV particles by electron microscopy, and their peak production at 24 h p.i. coincided with the time of maximum virus titre.


Infected Cell Vero Cell Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum Cytoplasmic Vacuole Rubella Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Acheson NH, Tamm I (1967) Replication of Semliki Forest virus: an electron microscopic study. Virology 32: 128–143Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bardeletti G, Tetkoff J, Gautheron D (1979) Rubella virus maturation and production in two host cell systems. Intervirology 11: 97–103Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bowden DS, Westaway EG (1984) Rubella virus: structural and non-structural proteins. J Gen Virol 65: 933–943Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bowden DS, Westaway EG (1989) Rubella virus products and their distribution in infected cells. In: Harris JR (ed) Subcellular biochemistry, vol 15. Plenum, New York, pp 203–231Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bowden DS, Pedersen JS, Toh BH, Westaway EG (1987) Distribution by immunofluorescence of viral products and actin-containing cytoskeletal filaments in rubella virus infected cells. Arch Virol 92: 211–219Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Calberg-Bacq GM, Rentier-Delrue F, Osterrieth PM, Duchesne PY (1975) Electron microscope studies on Banzi virus particles and its development in the suckling mice brains. J Ultrastruct Res 53: 193–203Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Friedman RM, Berezesky IK (1967) Cytoplasmic fractions associated with Semliki Forest virus ribonucleic acid replication. J Virol 1: 374–383Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Friedman RM, Levin JG, Grimley PM, Berezesky IK (1972) Membrane-associated replication complex in arbovirus infection. J Virol 10: 504–515Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Froshauer S, Kartenbeck J, Helenius A (1988) Alphavirus RNA replicase is located on the cytoplasmic surface of endosomes and lysosomes. J Cell Biol 107: 2075–2086Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gomatos PJ, Kääriäinen L, Keränen S, Ranki M, Sawicki DL (1980) Semliki Forest virus replication complex capable of synthesizing 42 S and 26 S nascent RNA chains. J Gen Virol 49: 61–69Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Grimley PM, Berezesky IK, Friedman RM (1968) Cytoplasmic structures associated with an arbovirus infection: loci of viral ribonucleic acid synthesis. J Virol 2: 1326–1338Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Grimley PM, Levin JG, Berezesky IK, Friedman RM (1972) Specific membranous structures associated with the replication of group A arboviruses. J Virol 10: 492–503Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hamvass JJ, Ugovsek S, Iwakata S, Labzoffsky NA (1969) Virus particles in rubella infected tissue cultures. Arch Ges Virusforsch 26: 287–294Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hemphill ML, Forng RY, Abernathy ES, Frey TK (1988) Time course of rubella virus-specific macromolecular synthesis during rubella virus infection in Vero cells. Virology 162: 65–75Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Higashi N (1973) Electron microscopy of viruses in thin sections of cells grown in culture. Prog Med Virol 15: 331–379Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Holmes IH, Wark MC, Warburton MF (1969) Is rubella an arbovirus? II. Ultrastructural morphology and development. Virology 37: 15–25Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Murphy FA (1980) Togavirus morphology and morphogenesis. In: Schlesinger W (ed) The togaviruses. Academic Press, New York, pp 241–326Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ng ML (1987) Ultrastructural studies of Kunjin virus-infectedAedes albopictus cells. J Gen Virol 68: 577–582Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ng ML, Hong SS (1989) Flavivirus infection: essential ultrastructural changes and association of Kunjin virus NS 3 protein with microtubules. Arch Virol 106: 103–120Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Payment P, Ajducovic D, Pavilanis V (1975) Le virus de la rubéole. II. Réplication dans les cellules Vero et effets de l'actinomycine D et du cycloheximide. Can J Microbiol 21: 710–717Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Reynolds ES (1963) The use of lead citrate at high pH as an electron opaque stain in electron microscopy. J Cell Biol 17: 208–212Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sedwick WD, Sokol F (1970) Nucleic acid of rubella virus and its replication in hamster kidney cells. J Virol 5: 478–489Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Stempak JG, Ward RT (1964) An improved staining method for electron microscopy. J Cell Biol 22: 697–701Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Von Bonsdorff CH, Vaheri A (1969) Growth of rubella virus in BHK 21 cells: electron microscopy of morphogenesis. J Gen Virol 5: 47–51Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Westaway EG, Brinton MA, Gaidamovich SY, Horzinek MC, Igarashi A, Kääriäinen L, Lvov DK, Porterfield JS, Russell PK, Trent DW (1985)Togaviridae. Intervirology 24: 125–139Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. -Y. Lee
    • 1
  • J. A. Marshall
    • 1
  • D. S. Bowden
    • 1
  1. 1.Macfarlane Burnet Centre for Medical ResearchFairfield HospitalFairfieldAustralia

Personalised recommendations