Effect of kaolinite on the specific infectivity of reovirus


*To whom reprint requests should be addressed, at present address: Virology Laboratory, Division of Microbiology, Department of Pathology and Laboratories, Nassau County Medical Center, East Meadow, NY 11554, U.S.A.


Abstract The infectivity of enteric viruses (e.g., poliovirus, rotavirus, reovirus) is prolonged when these viruses are adsorbed on naturally occurring particulates (sediments, clay minerals) in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Furthermore, in vitro assays of these and other particulate-associated viruses often display infectivity levels (specific infectivity) greater than those of the same concentration of viruses in the absence of particulates. This investigations attempted to identify interactions at the particulate-virus-cell interface and to define the mechanism(s) whereby the apparent infectivity of viruses is enhanced when complexed with particulates. Reovirus type 3 and the clay mineral, kaolinite, were used as the model systems. Scanning electron micrographs after critical point drying showed that kaolinite was not present on the surface of cell monolayers of L-929 mouse fibroblasts 3 h after inoculation with a kaolinite-reovirus complex. However, the virus was observed on the surface of the cells. No change in dispersion of the virus particles was observed nor was the integrity of the cell surface altered by kaolinite. These results indicated that kaolinite enhanced the transport of viral particles, in conjunction with diffusion and Brownian movement, to receptors for the reovirus on the cell surface.