Abstract Pore formation at mildly acidic pH by SFV spike proteins was investigated using isolated and modified virions. Modification of the virions was performed by limited proteolysis in presence of octylglucoside and resulted in the formation of E1 particles and spikeless particles, respectively. Pore formation was detected by measuring the influx of propidium iodide into the viral particles. The results obtained clearly showed that the presence of E1 alone is sufficient to promote pore formation at mildly acidic pH. Thus E1 represents the pore forming element of the viral spike proteins.