Family: Orthoherpesviridae

Subfamily: Gammaherpesvirinae


Distinguishing features

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.Orthoherpesviridae and Figure 5.Orthoherpesviridae). 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.