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Virus classification e
(unranked): Virus
Realm: Riboviria
(unranked): incertae sedis
Family: Togaviridae

Togaviridae [1]is a family of viruses. Humans, mammals, birds, and mosquitoes serve as natural hosts. There are currently 31 species in this family in a single genus[2]. Diseases associated with alphaviruses include arthritis and encephalitis. [1][3]


Group: ssRNA(+)



The Togaviridae family belong to group IV of the Baltimore classification of viruses. The genome is linear, non-segmented, single-stranded, positive sense RNA that is 10,000–12,000 nucleotides long. The 5'-terminus carries a methylated nucleotide cap and the 3'-terminus has a polyadenylated tail, therefore resembling cellular mRNA. The virus is enveloped and forms spherical particles (65–70 nm diameter), the capsid within is icosahedral, constructed of 240 monomers, having a triangulation number of 4.[1][3][4][5]

Genus Structure Symmetry Capsid Genomic arrangement Genomic segmentation
Alphavirus Icosahedral T=4 Enveloped Linear Monopartite

Life cycle[edit]

Entry into the host cell is achieved by attachment of the viral E glycoprotein to host receptors, which mediates clathrin-mediated endocytosis.[1][3] The receptors for binding are unknown, however the tropism is varied and it is known that the glycoprotein petal-like spikes act as attachment proteins. After virus attachment and entry into the cell, gene expression and replication takes place within the cytoplasm.[4][5]

Replication follows the positive stranded RNA virus replication model. Positive-stranded RNA-virus-transcription is the method of transcription. Translation takes place by viral initiation, and suppression of termination. The vector for Togaviridae is primarily the mosquito, where replication of the virus occurs. The family Togaviridae is classified into Old World and New World viruses based on geographical distribution, although it’s likely that a few transoceanic crossings have occurred.[4][5] Human, mammals, marsupials, birds, and mosquitoes serve as the natural host. Transmission routes are zoonosis, bite, and respiratory.[1][3]

Genus Host details Tissue tropism Entry details Release details Replication site Assembly site Transmission
Alphavirus Humans; mammals; marsupials; birds; mosquitoes None Clathrin-mediated endocytosis Secretion Cytoplasm Cytoplasm Zoonosis: arthropod bite


The non-structural proteins are encoded at the 5’ end, formed during the first of two characteristic rounds of translation. These proteins are originally translated as a polyprotein, which consequently undergo self cleavage, forming four non-structural proteins responsible for gene expression and replication. P1234 are the two P123 polyproteins formed. The formation of P1234 occurs due to a stop codon read through, which has a 10% to 20% chance of occurrence.[6] Auto proteolytic activity of P2 enables cis cleavage of P1234 between P3 and P4, forming a P123 polyprotein and a nsP4 protein. The nsP4 protein is an RNA dependent RNA polymerase and promotes further negative strand RNA synthesis. This leads to the accumulation of P123 over time and once the concentration is high enough all the other proteins are cleaved by the trans proteolytic activity of P2. Finally the N-terminal of nsP4 is able to act as a scaffold and forms a complex with nsP1, nsP2, and nsP3 that then causes plus strand synthesis.

The formation of a sub-genomic fragment, encoding the structural proteins and a negative sense fragment, a template for further synthesis of positive sense RNA are the characteristic second phase of translation. Assembly takes place at the cell surface, where the virus buds from the cell, acquiring the envelope. The replication cycle is very fast, taking around 4 hours.[4][5]


Initially the Togaviridae family included what are now called the Flaviviruses, within the Alphavirus genus. The flaviviruses were formed into their own family when sufficient differences with the alphaviruses were noted thanks to the development of sequencing.[4] Rubella virus was formerly included in the family Togaviridae in its own genus Rubivirus but is now classified in its own family Matonaviridae[7]

  • 2006—Major epidemic of the chikungunya virus in India with over 1.5 million cases reported.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Chen, R; Mukhopadhyay, S; Merits, A; Bolling, B; Nasar, F; Coffey, LL; Powers, A; Weaver, SC; Ictv Report, Consortium (June 2018). "ICTV Virus Taxonomy Profile: Togaviridae". The Journal of general virology. 99 (6): 761–762. doi:10.1099/jgv.0.001072. PMID 29745869.
  2. ^ "ICTV Report Togaviridae".
  3. ^ a b c d "Viral Zone". ExPASy. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Togaviridae".
  5. ^ a b c d Murray; et al. (2005). Medical Microbiology (5 ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier Mosby. ISBN 978-0-323-03325-1.
  6. ^ Jose, J.; Snyder, J. E.; Kuhn, R. J. (2009). "A structural and functional perspective of alphavirus replication and assembly". Future Microbiology. 4 (7): 837–856. doi:10.2217/fmb.09.59. PMC 2762864. PMID 19722838.
  7. ^ "ICTV Taxonomy List".
  8. ^ "Aedes vigilax". NSW Arbovirus Surveillance & Vector Monitoring Program. The New South Wales Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Monitoring Program. Retrieved 5 June 2010. Note that 'Ochlerotatus vigilax' prior to 2000, was known as 'Aedes vigilax'
  9. ^ Doherty, R. L.; Carley, J. G.; Best, J. C. (1972). "Isolation of Ross River virus from man". The Medical Journal of Australia. 1 (21): 1083–1084. PMID 5040017.
  10. ^ Calisher, C. H. (1994). "Medically important arboviruses of the United States and Canada". Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 7 (1): 89–116. doi:10.1128/CMR.7.1.89. PMC 358307. PMID 8118792.
  11. ^ Boughton, C. R.; Hawkes, R. A.; Naim, H. M. (1988). "Illness caused by a Barmah Forest-like virus in New South Wales". The Medical Journal of Australia. 148 (3): 146–147. PMID 2828896.
  12. ^ Tsetsarkin, K.; Higgs, S.; McGee, C. E.; Lamballerie, X. D.; Charrel, R. N.; Vanlandingham, D. L. (2006). "Infectious Clones of Chikungunya Virus (La Réunion Isolate) for Vector Competence Studies". Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. 6 (4): 325–337. doi:10.1089/vbz.2006.6.325. PMID 17187566.
  13. ^ Lahariya, C.; Pradhan, S. K. (2006). "Emergence of chikungunya virus in Indian subcontinent after 32 years: A review". Journal of Vector Borne Diseases. 43 (4): 151–160. PMID 17175699.

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