It has been shown that isolated nucleocapsids of Semliki Forest virus (SFV) contract upon low pH exposure (Soederlund et al., 1972). This contraction of the nucleocapsids has been used as an indicator to demonstrate that the spike proteins of SFV can translocate protons into the interior of the virus particle upon low pH (5.8) exposure. Spikeless virus particles obtained after bromelain digestion, which were used as a control, did not translocate protons. This implies that the ectodomain of the spike plays a crucial role for the proton translocation.

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