Location: Bee Research LaboratoryTitle: Dicistroviruses: Encyclopedia of Virology, 4th edition
Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Virology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/25/2019
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Dicistroviridae is a family of arthropod-infecting viruses within the order Picornavirales which represents a large group of small, nonenveloped isometric viruses with a monopartite, single-stranded, positive sense RNA genome. The name Dicistroviridae is derived from the characteristic dicistronic arrangement of the genome, which contains two non-overlapping open reading frames (ORFs), or cistrons, separated by an intergenic region (IGR), and flanked by untranslated regions (UTRs). The 5'-proximal and 3'-proximal ORFs encode non-structural and structural protein precursors, respectively. Each ORF is preceded by a specific RNA structure identified as an internal ribosome entry site (IRES), which allows for the initiation of translation in a cap-independent manner. Based on their phylogenetic distance, viral capsid structure, and distinctive features exhibited in IRESs, dicistroviruses are divided into three genera: Aparavirus, Cripavirus and Triatovirus. The Dicistroviridae family comprises members that are serious disease agents of medical and agricultural importance against arthropods, such as fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), honey bees (Apis mellifera), and species of shrimp, prawn, and crab. Some dicistroviruses infect pest insects and thus has the potential for being used as biopesticides to control agricultural and urban pests. Transmission of dicistroviruses can occur through both horizontal and vertical pathways. Dicistroviruses generally have a broad host range and have been identified in multiple host species. Infection with dicistroviruses can lead to a spectrum of illnesses ranging from reduced growth and fecundity, to severe disease and host death.