Bacteriophage φ6 contains three segments of double-stranded RNA within a nucleocapsid. Plasmids containing cDNA copies of the large genomic segment direct the synthesis of viral proteins that assemble into procapsids in Escherichia coli or Pseudomonas phaseolicola. These structures are dodecahedral assemblages of proteins P1, P2, P4, and P7. We report in this paper that these particles are capable of packaging viral single-stranded plus-sense RNA in vitro. The packaging reaction requires the presence of ATP or dATP. Synthesis of minus strands takes place within this filled procapsid in the presence of all four nucleoside triphosphates. Packaged ssRNA is found to be protected from added ribonuclease.
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