Intervirology. 1980;14(3-4):125-43. doi: 10.1159/000149174.


The family Bunyaviridae comprises over 200 viruses (serotypes, subtypes, and varieties) that infect vertebrates and/or invertebrates. Four genera of viruses have been defined (Bunyavirus, Nairovirus, Phlebovirus, and Uukuvirus). The main characteristics of the member viruses are: (i) the virus particles are for the most part uniformly spherical, 80-110 nm in diameter, and possess a unit membrane envelope from which protrude polypeptide spikes 5-10nm long; (ii) the viruses have three helical nucleocapsids, often in the form of supercoiled circles, each consisting of a single species of single-stranded RNA, major nucleocapsid polypeptide, N, and at least in some cases minor amounts of a large polypeptide which may be a transcriptase component; (iii) the genome is composed of three species of RNA (L, large; M, medium; and S, small), organized in end-hydrogen bonded circular structures; (iv) most viruses have three major virion polypeptides (N, and two surface polypeptides, designated G1 and G2); (v) for at least some member viruses, the virions have been shown to contain an RNA-directed RNA polymerase, believed to be responsible for the synthesis of viral complementary mRNA, so that bunyaviruses are considered to be negative-stranded viruses; (vi) at least some bunyaviruses are capable of heterologous virus genome segment reassortment and can form recombinant viruses at high or low frequency; (vii) viruses appear to mature primarily at smooth membrane surfaces and accumulate in Golgi vesicles and saccules, or nearby; (viii) transovarial, venereal and/or transstadial transmission in arthropods has been shown to occur for some members of the family.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bunyaviridae / analysis
  • Bunyaviridae / classification*
  • Capsid / analysis
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / analysis
  • Terminology as Topic*


  • RNA, Viral
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase