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Tombusviridae virion.jpg
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(unranked): Virus
Realm: Riboviria
Kingdom: Orthornavirae
Phylum: Kitrinoviricota
Class: Tolucaviricetes
Order: Tolivirales

Tombusviridae is a family of single-stranded positive sense RNA plant viruses. There are three subfamilies, 17 genera, and 95 species in this family. [1] [2] The name is derived from Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV). [3]



Tombusviridae genome map Tombusviridae genome.png
Tombusviridae genome map

All viruses in the family have a non-segmented (monopartite) linear genome, with the exception of Dianthoviruses, whose genome is bipartite. [4] The genome is approximately 4.6–4.8kb in length, lacks a 5' cap and a poly(A) tail, and it encodes 4–6 ORFs. The polymerase encodes an amber stop codon which is the site of a readthrough event within ORF1, producing two products necessary for replication. There is no helicase encoded by the virus. [5]


The RNA is encapsulated in an icosahedral (T=3) capsid, composed of 180 units of a single coat protein 27–42K in size; the virion measures 28–35 nm in diameter, and it is not enveloped. [1] [6]

Life cycle

Viral replication is cytoplasmic, and is lysogenic. Entry into the host cell is achieved by penetration into the host cell. Replication follows the positive stranded RNA virus replication model. Positive stranded RNA virus transcription, using the premature termination model of subgenomic RNA transcription is the method of transcription. Translation takes place by leaky scanning, −1 ribosomal frameshifting, viral initiation, and suppression of termination. The virus exits the host cell by tubule-guided viral movement. Plants serve as the natural host. Transmission routes are mechanical, seed borne, and contact. [1] [7]

Viruses in this family are primarily soil-borne, some transmitted by fungal species of the order Chytridiales, others by no known vector. Virions may spread by water, root growth into infected soil, contact between plants, pollen, or seed, depending on the virus species. These viruses may be successfully transmitted by grafting or mechanical inoculation, and both the virion and the genetic material alone are infective. [6]


Members of Tombusviridae replicate in the cytoplasm, by use of negative strand templates. The replication process leaves a surplus of positive sense (+)RNA strands, and it is thought that not only does the viral RNA act as a template for replication, but is also able to manipulate and regulate RNA synthesis. [5]

The level of RNA synthesis has been shown to be affected by the cis-acting properties of certain elements on the RNA (such as RNA1 and 2 [8] [9] ), which include core promoter sequences which regulate the site of initiation for the complementary RNA strand synthesis. This mechanism is thought to be recognised by RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, found encoded within the genome. [5] [7] [10]

Viruses in Tombusviridae have been found to co-opt GAPDH, a host metabolic enzyme, for use in the replication center. GAPDH may bind to the (−)RNA strand and keep it in the replicase complex, allowing (+)RNA strands synthesized from it to be exported and accumulate in the host cell. Downregulation of GAPDH reduced viral RNA accumulation, and eliminated the surplus of (+)RNA copies. [11]


Research has shown that infection of plants from tombusviruses contain defective interfering RNAs that are born directly from the viruses RNA genome, and no host genome. Viral DI RNAs with their small size and cis-acting elements are good templates both in vivo and in vitro on which to study RNA replication. [12] [13] [14]

Sub-genomic RNA is used in the synthesis of some proteins; they are generated by premature termination of (−)strand synthesis. sgRNAs and sgRNA negative-sense templates are found in infected cells. [6]


The family contains the following subfamilies and genera (-virinae denotes subfamily and -virus denotes genus): [2]

Lastly, one genus is unassigned to a subfamily: Luteovirus . [2]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Retrovirus</span> Family of viruses

A retrovirus is a type of virus that inserts a DNA copy of its RNA genome into the DNA of a host cell that it invades, thus changing the genome of that cell. After invading a host cell's cytoplasm, the virus uses its own reverse transcriptase enzyme to produce DNA from its RNA genome, the reverse of the usual pattern, thus retro (backwards). The new DNA is then incorporated into the host cell genome by an integrase enzyme, at which point the retroviral DNA is referred to as a provirus. The host cell then treats the viral DNA as part of its own genome, transcribing and translating the viral genes along with the cell's own genes, producing the proteins required to assemble new copies of the virus. Many retroviruses cause serious diseases in humans, other mammals, and birds.

Virus classification is the process of naming viruses and placing them into a taxonomic system similar to the classification systems used for cellular organisms.

<i>Rhabdoviridae</i> Family of viruses in the order Mononegavirales

Rhabdoviridae is a family of negative-strand RNA viruses in the order Mononegavirales. Vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, fungi and protozoans serve as natural hosts. Diseases associated with member viruses include rabies encephalitis caused by the rabies virus, and flu-like symptoms in humans caused by vesiculoviruses. The name is derived from Ancient Greek rhabdos, meaning rod, referring to the shape of the viral particles. The family has 40 genera, most assigned to three subfamilies.

<i>Hepadnaviridae</i> Family of viruses

Hepadnaviridae is a family of viruses. Humans, apes, and birds serve as natural hosts. There are currently 18 species in this family, divided among 5 genera. Its best-known member is hepatitis B virus. Diseases associated with this family include: liver infections, such as hepatitis, hepatocellular carcinomas, and cirrhosis. It is the sole accepted family in the order Blubervirales.

A satellite is a subviral agent that depends on the coinfection of a host cell with a helper virus for its replication. Satellites can be divided into two major classes: satellite viruses and satellite nucleic acids. Satellite viruses, which are most commonly associated with plants, are also found in mammals, arthropods, and bacteria. They encode structural proteins to enclose their genetic material, which are therefore distinct from the structural proteins of their helper viruses. Satellite nucleic acids, in contrast, do not encode their own structural proteins, but instead are encapsulated by proteins encoded by their helper viruses. The genomes of satellites range upward from 359 nucleotides in length for satellite tobacco ringspot virus RNA (STobRV).

<i>Geminiviridae</i> Family of viruses

Geminiviridae is a family of plant viruses that encode their genetic information on a circular genome of single-stranded (ss) DNA. There are 520 species in this family, assigned to 14 genera. Diseases associated with this family include: bright yellow mosaic, yellow mosaic, yellow mottle, leaf curling, stunting, streaks, reduced yields. They have single-stranded circular DNA genomes encoding genes that diverge in both directions from a virion strand origin of replication. According to the Baltimore classification they are considered class II viruses. It is the largest known family of single stranded DNA viruses.

<i>Nodaviridae</i> Family of viruses

Nodaviridae is a family of nonenveloped positive-strand RNA viruses. Vertebrates and invertebrates serve as natural hosts. Diseases associated with this family include: viral encephalopathy and retinopathy in fish. There are nine species in the family, assigned to two genera.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Viral replication</span> Formation of biological viruses during the infection process

Viral replication is the formation of biological viruses during the infection process in the target host cells. Viruses must first get into the cell before viral replication can occur. Through the generation of abundant copies of its genome and packaging these copies, the virus continues infecting new hosts. Replication between viruses is greatly varied and depends on the type of genes involved in them. Most DNA viruses assemble in the nucleus while most RNA viruses develop solely in cytoplasm.

<i>Tomato bushy stunt virus</i> Species of virus

Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) is a virus of the tombusvirus family. It was first reported in tomatoes in 1935 and primarily affects vegetable crops, though it is not generally considered an economically significant plant pathogen. Depending upon the host, TBSV causes stunting of growth, leaf mottling, and deformed or absent fruit. The virus is likely to be soil-borne in the natural setting, but can also be transmitted mechanically, for example through contaminated cutting tools. TBSV has been used as a model system in virology research on the life cycle of plant viruses, particularly in experimental infections of the model host plant Nicotiana benthamiana.

Baltimore classification is a system used to classify viruses based on their manner of messenger RNA (mRNA) synthesis. By organizing viruses based on their manner of mRNA production, it is possible to study viruses that behave similarly as a distinct group. Seven Baltimore groups are described that take into consideration whether the viral genome is made of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA), whether the genome is single- or double-stranded, and whether the sense of a single-stranded RNA genome is positive or negative.

Tombusvirus is a genus of viruses, in the family Tombusviridae. Plants serve as natural hosts. There are 17 species in this genus. Symptoms associated with this genus include mosaic. The name of the genus comes from Tomato bushy stunt virus.

<i>Nepovirus</i> Genus of viruses

Nepovirus is a genus of viruses in the order Picornavirales, in the family Secoviridae, in the subfamily Comovirinae. Plants serve as natural hosts. There are 40 species in this genus. Nepoviruses, unlike the other two genera in the subfamily Comovirinae, are transmitted by nematodes.

Luteovirus is a genus of viruses, in the family Tombusviridae. There are 13 species in this genus. Plants serve as natural hosts. The geographical distribution of Luteoviruses is widespread, with the virus primarily infecting plants via transmission by aphid vectors. The virus only replicates within the host cell and not within the vector. The name 'luteovirus' arises from the Latin luteus, which is translated as 'yellow'. Luteovirus was given this name due to the symptomatic yellowing of the plant that occurs as a result of infection.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tombusvirus 5′ UTR</span>

Tombusvirus 5′ UTR is an important cis-regulatory region of the Tombus virus genome.

Entomopoxvirinae is a subfamily of viruses, in the family Poxviridae. Insects, human, vertebrates, and arthropods serve as natural hosts. There are currently 31 species in this subfamily, divided among 4 genera with one species unassigned to a genus. Diseases associated with this subfamily include: impairment of motility and development.

Mitovirus is a genus of positive-strand RNA viruses, in the family Mitoviridae. Fungi serve as natural hosts. There are five species in the genus.

<i>Nodamura virus</i> Species of virus

Nodamura virus (NoV) is a member of the family Nodaviridae, which was originally isolated from mosquitoes in Japan near the village of Nodamura in 1956. Other members of Nodaviridae are flock house virus (FHV) and black beetle virus (BBV). NoV has been found to multiply in several insect and tick species; however, these infected individuals seem to be asymptomatic. Nodamura virus is the only member of the genus Alphanodavirus that can infect insects, fish, and mammals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Positive-strand RNA virus</span> Class of viruses in the Baltimore classification

Positive-strand RNA viruses are a group of related viruses that have positive-sense, single-stranded genomes made of ribonucleic acid. The positive-sense genome can act as messenger RNA (mRNA) and can be directly translated into viral proteins by the host cell's ribosomes. Positive-strand RNA viruses encode an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) which is used during replication of the genome to synthesize a negative-sense antigenome that is then used as a template to create a new positive-sense viral genome.

Black beetle virus (BBV) is a virus that was initially discovered in the North Island of New Zealand in Helensville in dead New Zealand black beetles in 1975.

<i>Orthornavirae</i> Kingdom of viruses

Orthornavirae is a kingdom of viruses that have genomes made of ribonucleic acid (RNA), including genes which encode an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). The RdRp is used to transcribe the viral RNA genome into messenger RNA (mRNA) and to replicate the genome. Viruses in this kingdom share a number of characteristics which promote rapid evolution, including high rates of genetic mutation, recombination, and reassortment.


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  14. Scholthof, Karen-Beth G.; Scholthof, Herman B.; Jackson, Andrew O. (1 August 1995). "The Effect of Defective Interfering RNAs on the Accumulation of Tomato Bushy Stunt Virus Proteins and Implications for Disease Attenuation". Virology. 211 (1): 324–328. doi: 10.1006/viro.1995.1410 . PMID   7645230.