Notes on Family: Ophioviridae

flexuous filaments
flexuous filaments


General Description

This family contains a single genus of viruses that have highly flexuous, fine filaments encapsidating a ssRNA(-) genome. These sediment as two components that encapsidate at least 3 and probably 4 RNAs. RNA3 encodes the coat protein in the negative sense. The name is derived from the snake-like appearance of the virions (Greek ophis = serpent).


Fine, flexuous filaments of two lengths, c. 10 nm in diam. and of 2 lengths (300-500 and 1500-2500 nm) representing 'top' and 'bottom' sedimentation components. These are collapsed double-stranded forms of nucleocapsid-like, highly flexuous open circles formed of filaments 3-4 nm in diam. Top-component filaments have contour lengths of 600-1000 nm, i.e. twice that reported for the corresponding collapsed form. Bottom-component filaments had contour lengths c. 4 times longer than those of top component filaments.


Linear, single-stranded RNA in 4 components. The largest is about 7.5-8.0 kb and the others are in the range, 1.4 to 1.8 kb. Most (or perhaps all) proteins are encoded in the negative sense.

Genera in the Family

There is currently only one genus: