The predicted amino acid sequences of members form a distinct lineage within the family (Figure 1. Gammaherpesvirinae). Genes in the FGARAT family (derived from a cellular phosphoribosylformylglycineamide amidotransferase gene) are characteristic of the subfamily. Most members have a class 2 genome architecture (Figure 2. Herpesviridae and Figure 5. Herpesviridae). Splicing is more common than in members of the subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae.
Figure 1. Gammaherpesvirinae. Phylogenetic relationships within the subfamily Gammaherpesvirinae. See the legend to Figure 1. Alphaherpesvirinae for details. This phylogenetic tree and corresponding sequence alignment are available to download from the Resources page.
Many members infect lymphocytes in cell culture, and carrier cultures can be established in which some cells are productively infected. Latent infection in vivo occurs primarily in lymphocytes or lymphoid tissue, harboured within macrophages, dendritic cells and B cells. In humans, acute infection has been associated with lymphoproliferative disorders, and some members of the subfamily are associated with malignancies of lymphoid and non-lymphoid origin (Damania and Cesarman 2013, Arvin et al., 2007, Longnecker et al., 2013).
Genus demarcation criteria
See discussion under family description.
The Member Species table enumerating important virus exemplars classified under each species of the genus is provided at the bottom of the page.