Label-fracture and immunogold fracture-flip techniques are used to address at the ultrastructural level the dynamics of viral and cellular transmembrane proteins during the budding of Sindbis virus on the plasma membrane of infected cells. Immunolabeling with anti-Sindbis spike antibodies shows that the viral proteins are mostly in clusters, all associated with budding viruses. Ultrastructural observation of the unlabeled freeze-fractured plasma membranes shows that membrane particles aggregate over the budding viruses. These results indicate that the concentration of viral transmembrane proteins gives rise to a parallel concentration of membrane particles. Immunolabeling with anti-CD8 antibodies of cells expressing by transfection the CD8 transmembrane protein and infected with Sindbis virus shows absence of labeling on the particle aggregates over the forming virions. These findings indicate the exclusion of CD8 proteins from the portions of the membrane where budding occurs.

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