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Volume 10, Number 2—February 2004
THEME ISSUE
2004 SARS Edition

Laboratory Study

Ultrastructural Characterization of SARS Coronavirus

Cynthia S. Goldsmith*, Kathleen M. Tatti*, Thomas G. Ksiazek*, Pierre E. Rollin*, James A. Comer*, William W. Lee*, Paul A. Rota*, Bettina Bankamp*, William J. Bellini*, and Sherif R. Zaki*
Author affiliations: *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Figure 1

Assembly of severe acute respiratory syndrome–associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) particles in infected Vero E6 cells. A) Apposition of nucleocapsids (arrow) along membranes of the budding compartment as particles developed and budded. Nucleocapsids measured 6 nm in diameter and were mostly seen in cross-section. Some virions had an electron-lucent center, with the nucleocapsid juxtaposed to the envelope, while others were relatively dark when the nucleocapsid was present throughout the particle.

Figure 1. Assembly of severe acute respiratory syndrome–associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) particles in infected Vero E6 cells. A) Apposition of nucleocapsids (arrow) along membranes of the budding compartment as particles developed and budded. Nucleocapsids measured 6 nm in diameter and were mostly seen in cross-section. Some virions had an electron-lucent center, with the nucleocapsid juxtaposed to the envelope, while others were relatively dark when the nucleocapsid was present throughout the particle. Tannic acid pre-treatment enhanced the visibility of the club-shaped viral projections (inset), which averaged 14 nm in length. B) SARS-CoV–infected cell with virus-containing vesicles, double-membrane vesicles (open arrow), and nucleocapsid inclusions (arrowhead). Note the vesicle with granular material interspersed among the virions (arrow). C) Higher magnification of a virus-containing vesicle with dark granular material. D) Tubular structures in a virus-containing vesicle. E) Virions in vesicles, which appeared to migrate toward and fuse with the plasma membrane. The characteristic lining of particles along the cell surface is seen. Bars: A, inset; B–D, 100 nm; E, 1 μm.

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