The Big Picture Book of Viruses: Arenaviridae

ICTVdB Description:


    Taxonomic structure of the family.

    Genus Arenavirus

  • Subgroup LCM-LASV Complex (Old world arenaviruses)
  • Subgroup Tacaribe Complex (New world arenaviruses)


    Virus infects vertebrates.


    Virions contain 2 % nucleic acid. Virions contain two segments of (RNA L and S) linear negative-sense single stranded RNA.

    Total genome length is 5000-7400 nt. The largest segment 3400-4800 nt; of second largest 2400 nt. Nucleotide sequences of 3'-terminus largely complementary to similar regions on the 5' end; conserved nucleotide sequences; the same in species of same genus; S on RNA; 19-30 nucleotides long. Encapsidated nucleic acid both genomic and non-viral; including three molecules of host ribosomal RNA. Genome found in one type of particle only. Each virion contains multiple copies of genome; often segments of genome not in equimolar proportions (due to frequent packaging of S RNA strands).


    Virions enveloped; slightly pleomorphic; spherical. Virions contain probably 2 nucleocapsid(s) per envelope. Virions (50-)110-130(-300) nm in diameter. Surface projections of envelope distinct; club-shaped (about 10 nm long); in small numbers dispersed evenly over all the surface. Host ribosomes seen inside the envelope (in varying numbers). Nucleocapsids filamentous (. Isolated nucleocapsids, free of contaminating host ribosomes, are organised in closed circles and display a linear array of nucleosomal subunits); (450-)1000-1300 nm long; 9-15 nm in diameter. Symmetry helical.

(Note: for more information about the taxonomy and structure of this virus family, see the ICTV database below.)

More Information about Arenaviruses:

Taxonomy: ICTVdB Data Books:
WWW Sites: ATV Sites! Viral Genomes: Entrez
Tutorials: Available! Viral Genes: Genbank
News Articles: From Yahoo! Medical Research Articles:

Arenavirus Images
    Unclassified Images
EM Images Example Virus Name Image Description
An Arenavirus An arena virus image from The Arenaviridae, reprinted from Scientific American.
arena2 An Arenavirus particle cartoon From Ray Baumann, at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine.
Classified Images

Genus Arenavirus

    Subgroup Tacaribe Complex (New world arenaviruses)

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus

    Subgroup LCM-LASV Complex (Old world arenaviruses)

Ippy virus
Lassa virus

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