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A Viral Biorealm page on the family Potyviridae

Baltimore Classification

Higher order taxa

Virus; ssRNA positive-strand viruses, no DNA stage; Potyviridae


Potyvirus, Bymovirus, Ipomovirus, Macluravirus, Rymovirus, Tritimovirus

Description and Significance

The Potyviridae family is one of the largest and economically most important families of plant viruses, due to their effects on crops worldwide. Members of the family are characterized by properties such as vector transmission and particle morphology. The name Potyviridae comes from the "Potato virus Y group." (sources: Götz et al., Janssen et al., ICTVdB)

Genome Structure

The Potyviridae genome consists of either one molecule or two segments of linear positive-sense single stranded RNA. The complete genome is 8500-10000 nucleotides long. The 3'-terminus has a poly (A) tract. The 5'-terminus has a genome-linked protein (VPg). (source: ICTVdB)

Virion Structure of a Potyvirus

Potyviridae virions consist of a non-enveloped capsid. The capsid is elongated, filamentous, and exhibits helical symmetry. The size of virions in the family vary, but are either 680-900nm, 500-600nm, or 200-300 nm in length. Virions have a width of 12-15 nm. (source: ICTVdB)

Reproduction Cycle of a Potyvirus in a Host Cell

Viral Ecology & Pathology

Potyviruses infect plants, causing severe economic damage to crops worldwide. The genera are defined by their transmission vector: Potyviruses and Macluraviruses are aphid-borne; Bymoviruses are transmitted by plasmodiphorids; Rymoviruses and Tritimoviruses are transmitted by mites; and Ipomoviruses are transmitted by whiteflies. (sources: Götz et al., Janssen et al.)


Fereres et al. "Aphid Attraction and Preference for Soybean and Pepper Plants Infected with Potyviridae." Annals of the Entomological Society of America 92.4 (1999): 542-548.

Götz et al. "Molecular analyses of the coat protein region of different viruses on Poaceae belonging to the Potyviridae." Agronomie 15.7-8 (1995): 491-494.

ICTVdB - The Universal Virus Database, version 4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ICTVdb/ICTVdB/

Janssen et al. "Absence of a coding region for the helper component-proteinase in the genome of cucumber vein yellowing virus, a whitefly-transmitted member of the Potyviridae." Archives of Virology 150.7 (2005): 1439-1447.