- Baltimore classification
title=Expression of animal virus genomes
David Baltimore, is based on the method of viral mRNAsynthesis] The Baltimore classification is a virus classificationsystem which groups viruses into families depending on their type of genome( DNA, RNA, single-stranded (ss), double-stranded (ds) etc.) and their method of replication.
Classifying viruses according to their genome means that those in a given category will all behave in much the same way, which offers some indication of how to proceed with further research. In short:
Class I: Double stranded DNA viruses
This type of virus usually must enter the host nucleus before it is able to replicate. Furthermore, these viruses require host cell polymerases to replicate the viral
genomeand hence are highly dependent on the cell cycle. Proper infection and production of progeny requires that the cell be in replication as that is when the cell's polymerases are active. The virus may induce the cell to forcefully undergo cell division, and chronically, this may lead to transformation of the cell and ultimately, cancer. Examples include Herpesviridae, Adenoviridaeand Papovaviridae.
There is only one well studied example in which a class 1 virus is not replicating within the nucleus, that is the
Poxvirusfamily, a highly pathogenic virus that infects vertebrates and includes the smallpoxvirus.
Class II: Single stranded DNA viruses
Viruses that fall under this category includes ones that are not as well studied, but still do pertain highly to vertebrates. Two examples include the
Circoviridaeand Parvoviridae. They replicate within the nucleus, and form a double stranded DNA intermediate during replication. A prevalent but asymptomatichuman Circovirus called Transfusion Transmitted Virus(TTV) is included within this classification.
Class III: Double stranded RNA viruses
As with most
RNAviruses, this class replicates in the cytoplasm, not having to use the host replication polymerases to as much a degree as DNAviruses. This family is also not as well studied as the rest and includes 2 major families, the Reoviridaeand Birnaviridae. Replication is monocistronicand includes individual, segmented genomes, meaning that each of the genes code for only one protein, unlike other viruses which exhibit more complex translation.
Class IV & V: Single stranded RNA viruses
These viruses consist of two types, however both share the fact that replication is primarily in the cytoplasm, and that replication is not as dependent on the cell cycle as other DNA viruses. This class of viruses is one of the best studied, alongside the double stranded DNA viruses.
Class IV: Single stranded RNA viruses - Positive (+) sense
The positive sense RNA viruses and indeed all genes defined as
positive sensecan be directly accessed by host polymerases to immediately form proteins. These can be divided into two groups, both of which reproduce in the cytoplasm:
* Viruses with
polycistronic mRNAwhere the genome RNA forms the mRNA and is translated into a polyproteinproduct that is subsequently cleaved to form the mature proteins. This means that the gene can utilize a few methods in which to produce proteins from the same strand of RNA, all in the sake of reducing the size of its gene.
* Viruses with complex transcription, for which
subgenomicmRNAs, ribosomal frameshiftingand proteolyticprocessing of polyproteins may be used. All of which are different mechanisms with which to produce proteins from the same strand of RNA.
Examples of this class include the families
Astroviridae, Caliciviridae, Coronaviridae, Flaviviridae, Picornaviridae, Arteriviridaeand Togaviridae.
Class V: Single stranded RNA viruses - Negative (-) sense
The negative sense RNA viruses and indeed all genes defined as
negative sensecannot be directly accessed by host polymerases to immediately form proteins. Instead, they must be transcripted by viral polymerases into a "readable" form, which is the positive sense reciprocal. These can also be divided into two groups:
* Viruses containing non segmented
genomesfor which the first step in replication is transcription from the (-) stranded genome by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase to yield monocistronic mRNAs that code for the various viral proteins. A (+) sense genome copy is then produced that serves as template for production of the (-) strand genome. Replication is within the cytoplasm.
* Viruses with segmented genomes for which replication occurs in the nucleus and for which the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase produces monocistronic mRNAs from each genome segment. The largest difference between the two is the location of replication.
Examples in this class include the families
Arenaviridae, Orthomyxoviridae, Paramyxoviridae, Bunyaviridae, Filoviridaeand Rhabdoviridae(the latter which includes rabies).
Class VI: Positive (+) sense single stranded RNA viruses that replicate through a DNA intermediate
A well studied family of this class of viruses include the retroviruses. One defining feature is the use of
reverse transcriptaseto convert the positive sense RNA into DNA. Instead of using the RNA for templates of proteins, they use DNA to create the templates, which is spliced into the host genome using integrase. Replication can then commence with the help of the host cell's polymerases. A well studied example includes HIV.
Class VII: Double stranded DNA viruses that replicate though a single stranded RNA intermediate
This small group of viruses, exemplified by the
Hepatitis Bvirus (which is in the Hepadnaviridaefamily), have a double-stranded, gapped genome that is subsequently filled in to form a covalently closed circle ( ccc DNA) that serves as a template for production of viral mRNAs and a subgenomicRNA. The pregenome RNA serves as template for the viral reverse transcriptase and for production of the DNA genome.
[http://athena.bioc.uvic.ca/bioDoc/cuptonclass/virus-taxonomy "Virus Taxonomy Portal."] (Website.) "Viral Bioinformatics Resource Center & Viral Bioinformatics - Canada". Retrieved on
* [http://www.virology.net/Big_Virology/BVFamilyGroup.html Family Groups - The Baltimore Method]
* [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ICTVdb/ The Universal Virus Database of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses]
* [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?name=Viruses The taxonomy portal of the Genbank database]
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