Lysosomotropic drugs such as NH4Cl have been useful for studying the role of low pH in early events in virus infection. NH4Cl blocks the production of infectious progeny virus in mammalian reovirus-infected cells. The inhibitory effect of NH4Cl is mediated by an inhibition of intracellular digestion of reovirus outer capsid proteins. In vitro digestion of viral outer capsid proteins produces infectious partially uncoated particles, called intermediate subviral particles, which are no longer inhibited by the presence of NH4Cl. These results indicate that proteolytic processing of reovirus outer capsid proteins takes place in a low pH compartment of the cell and is an essential step in the viral infectious cycle.