Notes on Genus: Arenavirus

enveloped pleomorphic
enveloped pleomorphic

Type member: Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus

Contents

General Description

The genus Arenavirus is the only genus in the family Arenaviridae. It is named from the Latin arena = sand, because of the sand-like appearance of ribosomes in thin sections of particles.

Morphology

Virions pleomorphic, enveloped, 50-300 nm in diameter, with club-shaped (8-10 nm) projections. Host ribosomes are usually present with the particles.

Genome

Bipartite single-stranded negative sense RNA totalling about 11 kb. There is no genome-linked protein (VPg) at the 5'-terminus nor a 3'-polyA tail.

Genus Genomic Organization

Both RNAs have an ambisense coding strategy:
  • The larger RNA (L) of 7-7.3 kb encodes:
    • Zinc binding protein Z (virion sense) of 10-11 kDa
    • Polymerase L (complementary sense) of 252-254 kDa
  • The smaller RNA (S) of about 3.4 kb encodes:
    • Glycoprotein precursor GPC (virion sense) of 56-57 kDa
    • Coat protein N (complementary sense) of 62-64 kDa

Type Member Genomic Organization

Both RNAs have an ambisense coding strategy:
  • The larger RNA (L) of 7.2 kb encodes:
    • Zinc binding protein Z (virion sense) of 10.2 kDa
    • Polymerase L (complementary sense) of 254.4 kDa
  • The smaller RNA (S) of 3.4 kb encodes:
    • Glycoprotein precursor GPC (virion sense) of 56.2 kDa
    • Coat protein N (complementary sense) of 62.2 kDa