During routine pathological studies of Franklin's ground squirrels (Spermophilus franklini) collected during a predator control program, basophilic intranuclear inclusions were found in the collecting tubule epithelium of the renal papillae in seven of 13 squirrels. This was associated with marked karyomegaly in affected cells. An inflammatory response was not seen in the adjacent tissues. Electron microscopic examination of affected cells demonstrated that the enlarged nuclei contained numerous virus-like particles. Autoculture and serial passage of renal medullary cells resulted in the isolation of virus particles producing intranuclear inclusions and cytopathic effect. The virus possessed properties typical of adenoviruses, but showed no evidence of hemagglutinating activity with a range of species of erythrocytes tested under several temperature conditions. The isolates were relatively host-cell specific; they failed to grow in hamster and rabbit kidney cell lines and in ground squirrel kidney cortical cells.
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Vol. 24 • No. 4