Biology and molecular biology of viruses in the genus Tenuivirus

Annu Rev Phytopathol. 1998;36:139-63. doi: 10.1146/annurev.phyto.36.1.139.


Viruses in the genus Tenuivirus (Tenuiviruses) cause a number of important diseases in economically important crop plants including rice and maize. Tenuiviruses are transmitted from plant to plant by specific planthopper vectors, and their transmission relationship is circulative-propagative. Thus, Tenuiviruses have host ranges including plants and animals (planthoppers). Four or five characteristic, circular ribonucleoprotein particles (RNPs), each containing a single Tenuivirus genomic RNA, can be isolated from Tenuivirus-infected plants. The genomic RNAs range in size from ca 9.0 kb to 1.3 kb and together give a total genome size of ca 18-19 kb. The genomic RNAs are either negative-sense or ambisense, and expression of the ambisense RNAs utilizes cap-snatching during mRNA transcription. The combination of characteristics exhibited by Tenuiviruses are quite different than those found for most plant viruses and are more similar to vertebrate-infecting viruses in the genus Phlebovirus of the Bunyaviridae.