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Virus classification
Group: Group I (dsDNA)
Order: Herpesvirales
Family: Herpesviridae
Subfamily: Alphaherpesvirinae
Genus: Varicellovirus
Type species
Human herpesvirus 3

Varicellovirus (var′i-sel′ō-vi′rŭs) is a genus belonging to subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae, a member of family Herpesviridae.

The varicellovirus genus contains several closely related viruses, including Varicella zoster virus (human herpesvirus 3), the causative agent of chickenpox in humans, and pseudorabies virus (also known as Suid herpesvirus 1), the causative agent of Aujeszky's disease (pseudorabies).


As with other alphaherpesviruses, the virus particle has a layered structure: Virions consist of an envelope, a tegument, a nucleocapsid, and a core. Tegument is disordered; they do not display a structure and proteins in variable amounts are arranged sometimes in an asymmetric layer located between envelope and capsid. The viral capsid is contained within a spherical envelope which is 120-200 nm in diameter. Surface projections on envelope (viral receptors) are densely dispersed and contain small spikes that evenly dot the surface.

The capsid/nucleocapsid is round and exhibits icosahedral symmetry. The capsid is isometric and has a diameter of 100–110 nm. The capsid consists of 162 capsomer proteins with a hexagonal base and a hole running halfway down the long axis. The core consists of a fibrillar spool on which the DNA is wrapped. The end of the fibers are anchored to the underside of the capsid shell.[1] It is a double-stranded enveloped DNA virus


The virus's natural host is a single type of vertebrate host. One member of the Varicellovirus genus, Varicella zoster virus (HHV-3) infects Homo sapiens (humans).[2]


  1. ^ ICTVdB—The Universal Virus Database, version 4.
  2. ^ Davison, A.J. (2002). Evolution of the herpesviruses. Vet. Microbial., 86, 69–88.

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