Alphaherpesvirinae is a subfamily of Herpesviridae, primarily distinguished by reproducing more quickly than other subfamilies of Herpesviridae. In animal virology the most important herpesviruses belong to the Alphaherpesvirinae. Pseudorabies virus is the causative agent of Aujeszky's disease in pigs and bovine herpesvirus 1 is the causative agent of bovine infectious rhinotracheitis and pustular vulvovaginitis. Mammals serve as natural hosts. There are currently 37 species in this subfamily, divided among 5 genera. Diseases associated with this subfamily include: HHV-1 and HHV-2: skin vesicles or mucosal ulcers, rarely encephalitis and meningitis HHV-3: chickenpox (varicella) and shingles gaHV-2: Marek's disease.
Viruses in Alphaherpesvirinae are enveloped, with icosahedral, spherical to pleomorphic, and round geometries, and T=16 symmetry. The diameter is around 150-200 nm. Genomes are linear and non-segmented, around 120-180kb in length.
Viral replication is nuclear, and is lysogenic. Entry into the host cell is achieved by attachment of the viral gB, gC, gD and gH proteins to host receptors, which mediates endocytosis. Replication follows the dsDNA bidirectional replication model. DNA-templated transcription, with some alternative splicing mechanism is the method of transcription. Translation takes place by leaky scanning. The virus exits the host cell by nuclear egress, budding, and microtubular outwards viral transport. Mammals serve as the natural host. Transmission routes are sexual, contact, body fluids, lesions, and respiratory.