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Virus classification
Group: Group IV ((+)ssRNA)
Order: Unassigned
Family: Potyviridae

The Potyviridae are a family that encompasses more than 30% of known plant viruses,[1][2] many of which are of great agricultural significance. They are flexuous filamentous rod-shaped particles. Their genome consists of positive-sense RNA which is surrounded by a protein coat made up of a single viral encoded protein called a capsid. All induce the formation of virus inclusion bodies called cylindrical inclusions (‘pinwheels’) in their hosts. These consist of a single protein (~70 kDa) made in their hosts from a single viral genome product.


Based on the amino acid sequences of their coat proteins, potyviruses are now divided into eight genera. All but the Bymovirus genus are single stranded particles. The eight genera are:

Potyvirus is the largest genus in the family, with more than 100 known species.[3] These viruses are 720-850 nm in length and are transmitted by aphids. They can also be easily transmitted by mechanical means.

Notes on the genera[edit]

The species in the genus Macluravirus are 650–675 nm in length and are also transmitted by aphids.

The plant viruses in the genus Ipomovirus are transmitted by whiteflies and they are 750–950 nm long.

Tritimovirus and the Rymovirus are 680–750 nm long and are transmitted by eriophydid mites. (The rymoviruses are closely related to the potyviruses and may eventually be merged with the potyviruses.[4])

The Bymovirus genome consists of two particles instead of one (275 and 550 nm) and these viruses are transmitted by the chytrid fungus, Polymyxa graminis.


  1. ^ Riechmann JL, Lain S, Garcia JA (1992) Highlights and prospects of potyvirus molecularbiology. J Gen Virol 73:1–16.
  2. ^ Berger PH, et al. (2005) in Virus Taxonomy: Eighth Report of the InternationalCommittee on the Taxonomy of Viruses, eds Fauquet CM, Mayo MA, Maniloff J,Desselberger U, Ball LA (Elsevier Academic, San Diego), pp 819–841.
  3. ^ Description of Plant Viruses: Potyviridae family
  4. ^ Description of Plant Viruses: Potyviridae family Figure

External links[edit]