RNA-CONTAINING type-C viruses with the ability to induce morphological transformation of fibroblasts in cell culture have been isolated from both avian and mammalian species. In studies on such viruses, clonal isolates of the Rous sarcoma virus have been identified which are competent both for replication and for transformation1. In contrast, in mammalian systems virtually all strains of sarcoma viruses thus far isolated are defective by themselves for replication2. In order to obtain infectious sarcoma virus, helper type-C viruses must also be present to provide functions necessary for replication. To analyse the RNA subunits contained in heterologous type-C virus pseudotypes of defective sarcoma viruses, we have studied the RNA components obtained from a virus complex containing the woolly sarcoma virus and a mouse type-C helper virus. We have observed that the 45 to 70S high molecular weight RNA formed in this virus complex represents two distinct populations of high molecular weight RNA. One population is composed of subunits of mouse viral RNA, and the other population is composed of subunits of woolly sarcoma virus RNA. These two sets of apparent dimers3–5 have been readily separated from each other in sucrose gradients, thus providing a rapid, simple approach to obtaining large quantities of sarcoma virus RNA free of helper virus RNA. Using this approach, the nucleic acid sequences of the woolly sarcoma virus have been analysed.
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