Notes on Family: ssRNA satellite viruses



General Description

Satellites are sub-viral agents composed of nucleic acid molecules that depend for their replication on co-infection of a host cell with a specific helper virus. Nucleotide sequences are substantially distinct from those of the genomes of the helper virus and of the host. Replication of the helper virus is often decreased and virus symptoms may be modified.

Satellite viruses encode their own coat protein (unlike satellite nucleic acids) and all known members contain ssRNA. In all cases the satellite virus particles are antigenically, and usually morphologically, distinct from those of the helper virus.


Virions are isometric, 17 nm in diameter, associated with the helper virus.


Plant infecting members have monopartite, single stranded, positive sense, RNA, 800-1500 nucleotides long. Other satellite viruses may have more components.

Genera in the Family