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The proteins that interact with cytoplasmic and nuclear polyadenylated RNA in adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) infection of HeLa cells were examined by UV-induced RNA-protein cross-linking in intact cells. The Ad5 100-kilodalton late nonvirion protein (100K protein) was cross-linked to both host and viral polyadenylated cytoplasmic RNA (mRNA). The cross-linking of the 100K protein to mRNA appears to correlate with productive infection, because the protein is not cross-linked to mRNA in abortive infection of wild-type Ad5 in monkey cells (CV-1) even though normal amounts of it are produced. However, when CV-1 cells are infected with Ad5 hr404, and Ad5 mutant which overcomes the host restriction to wild-type Ad5 infection in these cells, the 100K protein is cross-linked to mRNA. To identify and obtain antibodies to RNA-contacting proteins, a mouse was immunized with oligo(dT)-selected cross-linked RNA-protein complexes from Ad5-infected cells and the serum was used for immunoblotting experiments. It was found that in addition to the 100K protein, the Ad5 72K DNA-binding protein is also associated with RNA in the infected cells. The 72K DNA-binding protein is cross-linked to polyadenylated nuclear RNA sequences. These findings indicate that adenovirus proteins interact with RNAs in the infected cell and suggest possible mechanisms for the effects of the virus on mRNA metabolism.