Characterization of paramyxoviruses isolated from three snakes

Gary A. Richter, Bruce L. Homer, Sue A. Moyer, Donna S. Williams, Gail Scherba, Sylvia J. Tucker, Betty J. Hall, Janice C. Pedersen, Elliott R. Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiple epizootics of pneumonia in captive snakes have been attributed to viruses which have been tentatively placed in the family Paramyxoviridae. Viruses isolated from an ill Neotropical rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus terrificus), from an Aruba Island rattlesnake (Crotalus unicolor), and from a bush viper (Atheris sp.) were propagated in Vero cells and characterized. Viral particles produced in Vero cells were pleomorphic, enveloped, and contained helical nucleocapsids. The viruses were sensitive to ether and to acidic and basic pH. Moreover, they had neuraminidase activity and were able to agglutinate erythrocytes from chicken and a variety of species of mammals. Hemagglutination was inhibited with rabbit antiserum raised against each virus. The buoyant densities of the three isolates ranged from 1.13/cm3 to 1.18/cm3, values consistent with that for an enveloped virus. The nucleic acid in the virion was determined to be RNA by [3H]uridine incorporation. Viral proteins characteristic of paramyxoviruses were immunoprecipitated from cells infected with each of the three isolates using rabbit anti-Neotropical virus serum. The morphologic appearance, physico- and biochemical properties, and cytopathologic effects of these snake viruses were consistent with those of certain members of the family Paramyxoviridae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalVirus Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1996


  • Characterization
  • Paramyxovirus
  • Snake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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