Notes for Contributors

"...when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly. "
William Shakespeare, Macbeth Act 1, Scene 7, line 1

Updated Submission Instructions: January 2023.

We are accepting new ‘Descriptions of Plant Viruses’ from members of the community. We are actively recruiting new Descriptions and have simplified submission using an automated form. We invite anyone to submit a new Description of any new viruses on which you are working. The automated submission form will will generate a PDF that will be circulated to the AAB Virology group for review. They will return to you with any questions to be answered before the DPV is published on the DPV website.

All newly accepted submissions will be provided with a permanent URL that can be quoted in relevant CVs. If you have any questions about this process please contact AAB Executive Officer Dr Geraint Parry (

Submit new DPV here:


From September 1998 the AAB Descriptions of Plant Viruses have appeared only in electronic format, first as a CD-ROM and, more recently, also on this web site. You can explore this site to see the very substantial taxonomic and sequence information that is also now provided for all plant virus species, genera and families, and to get details of the latest CD-ROM version which contains additional features, particularly a map program that allows interactive display of the sequences in a graphical format to show principal genome features.

We welcome offers of new descriptions - either of viruses that have not yet been described within DPV, or to update existing Descriptions where these have become badly out of date. Please contact Mike Adams to check before starting work on any manuscript. Please then follow the instructions below when preparing your manuscript.


All editing is now done electronically. Please e-mail your script and figures directly to the editor assigned to your Description for editorial correction. Texts should preferably be prepared with Microsoft Word. Please check if you wish to use a different word processing package.

Contributors should use recent Descriptions as a guide to style, length and layout. Check the Internet site for a recent example. Only data considered to be reliable should be included. Give references to support all important statements. Omit any sections for which there is no information. The best English for the purpose of the Descriptions is that which gives the sense in the fewest short words. Editors may alter authors' typescripts to increase accuracy, brevity, clarity and uniformity of style. The following notes are for additional guidance.

1. Title and introductory sentence

Use the preferred virus name, as given in the latest report of the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). Cite the first description of the disease, and of the virus if this was described later. The name(s) and postal address(es) of the author(s) should be also be given here; if desired, a single e-mail address may be included.

2. Selected synonyms

Give original references to first use of each selected synonym. We are abandoning the routine use of Review of Applied Mycology or Review of Plant Pathology citations for synonyms.

3. Brief description

A few lines to summarise the general properties of the virus, e.g. particle size, genome type, transmissibility by vectors and by inoculation of sap, vector relations, width of host range, geographical distribution, economic importance.

4. Main diseases

Describe the main naturally occurring diseases. If necessary, give key references to detailed disease descriptions.

5. Geographical distribution

If wide, give major areas; if restricted, give details and reasons if known.

6. Host range and symptomatology

Exact number of plant families is not necessary - next month, hosts in an additional family may be found. However, we want to be able to distinguish host ranges comprising few, several or many plant families. Both natural and experimental hosts count. Note whether families are of angiosperms (monocotyledons and/or dicotyledons), gymnosperms, etc. Give key references.

Where the host range is narrow, name the main families containing hosts. Indicate whether hosts are susceptible following mechanical or vector inoculation.

For diagnostic species give brief symptom descriptions. List useful non-hosts.

Propagation species. Self-explanatory.

Assay species. Indicate whether useful for local lesion or whole plant assay. Also indicate species suitable for assaying transmission by vectors.

7. Strains

List the major strains, including all those mentioned elsewhere in the text; their key characteristics and differences, distribution, frequency of occurrence, etc. Viruses that are only distantly serologically related and are listed by ICTV as distinct species (e.g. cucumber mosaic and tomato aspermy viruses, or arabis mosaic and grapevine fanleaf viruses) will be separately described. The relationships of different strains of the virus to one another, and to other viruses, should be described in the section headed Relationships.

8. Transmission by vectors

Give vector taxa and approximate number of vector species (naming the most important ones). Acquisition and inoculation threshold access periods, latent period, persistence time in vector (all times should be approximate). Multiplication in vector. Transmission through moult/egg/resting spore. Vector stages able to acquire and inoculate. Association with vector cells and tissues. Special features, such as strain specificity of vectors, dependence on other viruses, etc.

9. Transmission through seed

Indicate frequency (rare, occasional, frequent). Give approximate number of species. State if pollen-transmitted to seed or to the plant pollinated.

10. Transmission by dodder


11. Serology

State whether weakly, moderately or strongly immunogenic. Mention types of serological test that are useful and nature of reactions obtained. Relationships revealed by tests should be described in the section headed Relationships. State whether monoclonal antibodies have been prepared.

12. Relationships

Mention the characteristics used for recognizing relationships (serological, cross-protection, nucleic acid hybridization tests or sequence comparisons).

  1. between strains

  2. between serologically related viruses (e.g. turnip yellow mosaic and wild cucumber mosaic viruses)

  3. to other viruses which, although not serologically related, are classified in the same genus.

13. Stability in sap

Especially thermal inactivation point (10 min), longevity at room temperature, dilution end-point, and resistance to freezing. Indicate species used as source of sap and limits between which infectivity is lost. Mention any additives that help to improve stability. Indicate the best ways of preserving virus cultures (e.g. freeze-drying).

14. Purification

Mention one or two main methods.

15. Properties of particles

With viruses having more than one type of particle, give salient properties of each type, including its role in infection. Include the following information if available.

Sedimentation coefficient, S20,w (svedbergs); say whether calculation made for infinite dilution.

Buoyant density (g. cm-3). State salt or other medium used.

Particle weight (daltons).

Diffusion coefficient, D20,w ( x 10-7 cm2. sec-1).

Isoelectric point.

Partial specific volume (cm3. g-1).

Electrophoretic mobility (cm2. sec-1. V-1); state molarity or ionic strength and pH of solvent.

Extinction coefficient, (Absorbance at 260 mn, 1 mg. ml-1, 1 cm light path). State whether corrected for light-scattering.


16. Particle structure

Shape (isometric, tubular, elongated, straight, flexuous, very flexuous, pleomorphic, bacilliform or parallel sides with ends rounded, etc). Symmetry (icosahedral, helical, etc.). Size (nm). Number and arrangement (triangulation no.) of sub-units. If icosahedral, e.g. 180 in clusters (20 sixes and 12 fives); if helical, e.g. 16.3 subunits per turn, of pitch 2.3 nm. Other peculiarities of appearance in electron microscope, e.g. penetration by negative stain. Arrangement of nucleic acid.

17. Particle composition.

Nucleic acid : RNA or DNA. Single- or double-stranded. Linear or circular. Number of genome segments. Molecular weight or nucleotide number. Percentage of particle weight. Subsidiary nucleic acid components found in main or accessory particles.

Protein : Percentage of particle weight. Number of protein species in particle. Number of chemical subunits per particle. Molecular weight of subunits. Give references to amino-acid sequence or composition. Enzymic activities present.

Lipid : Percentage of particle weight. Chemical composition.

Other components : Polyamines, etc.

18. Genome properties

If sequence data are available, give database accession numbers. Note any outstanding features such as structures at 3' and 5' termini, genome-linked proteins, and amino-acid acceptor activity. Describe genome organization and expression strategy (a diagram can be helpful). Mention non-structural proteins, translation in vitro and in vivo, subgenomic fragments, double-stranded RNA profile.

19. Relations with cells and tissues

Tissue restrictions, if any. Association with cell organelles. Sites of synthesis or accumulation of RNA, protein and particles in the cell. Types, composition and location of inclusion bodies observable by light or electron microscopy (X-bodies, pinwheels, crystalline arrays, etc.). Give any available information on mechanisms of virus movement within plants.

20. Ecology and control

With viruses that cause important diseases in cultivated plants, include information on ecology and control. Mention the forms of resistance that are available.

21. Notes

This section can be very valuable, especially to bring out ways in which the virus differs from others with which it may be confused. This section can also be used to explain points of confusion or disagreement among those working with the virus e.g. over identity, nomenclature, taxonomy or relationships.

22. References

All references cited in the text should be listed and all references listed should be cited in the text. Ensure that all key references are included, selecting primarily those of value in leading the reader to the general literature of the subject in question. In the text, give the names of authors up to two; if there are more than two authors, use the form Smith et al. (1989).

In the list, begin each reference on a separate line. For papers by one or two authors, list alphabetically by the names of first and second authors, and then chronologically. For papers by more than two authors, list alphabetically by the name of the first author, and then chronologically. The style should be that of previous descriptions, i.e. omit author initials (but include those of book editors), omit article title, and give first page number only; however, please give the full journal title instead of the abbreviated title used in the earlier, printed, descriptions. The following are examples of the style required:

Harrison, in Diseases of Crop Plants, p. 123, ed. J. H. Western, London: Macmillan, 1971.

Harrison, CMI/AAB Descriptions of Plant Viruses 120 : 1973.

Robinson & Harrison, Journal of General Virology 66 : 171, 1985a.

Robinson & Harrison, Joumal of General Virology 66 : 2003, 1985b.

Robinson, Hamilton, Harrison & Baulcombe, Journal of General Virology 68 : 255 1, 1987.

Robinson, Brown & Ploeg, Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute, 1987: 189, 1988.

23. Illustrations

Take great care to choose suitable illustrations. Illustrations should include photographs, where possible in colour, of important diagnostic symptoms in herbaceous test plants as well as those of diseases caused in economic plants. An electron micrograph of virus particles (preferably negatively stained) should be included where available.

For preference, please supply high resolution electronic versions of all pictures and diagrams. Electron micrographs should have a magnification bar of specified actual length; the length represented (in nm or µm) must be stated in the figure legend. Acceptable file formats include png, gif, jpg and bmp. Powerpoint versions of diagrams are usually also acceptable. If you wish to submit files in other formats please consult the editors first.

If necessary, you may post photographs or diagrams to the editor. Do not send photographs which are copies of half-tone reproductions. Electron micrographs should have on the back a magnification bar of specified actual length; the length represented (in nm or µm) must be stated in the figure legend. Photographs should be colour transparencies or glossy prints of good contrast. The maximum acceptable size of prints is 12.5 x 17.5 cm. Photographs for publication should be unlettered; any lettering required should be indicated on an additional copy. Line drawings, e.g. genome diagrams, should have line thicknesses and letter sizes suitable for electronic scanning.

24. Figure Legends

Each figure should be accompanied by a brief legend. Please ensure that all features labelled in the figure are mentioned in the legend, and that all figures are cited (correctly!) in the text.

25. Copyright

Authors must supply evidence of permission to use illustrations that are already subject to copyright and give appropriate acknowledgement in Figure Legends.

Page last updated: 26 April 2007