Evolution of Virulence in Picornaviruses

  • S. Tracy
  • N. M. Chapman
  • K. M. Drescher
  • K. Kono
  • W. Tapprich
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 299)


The Picornaviridae encompass many positive-strand RNA viruses, all of which share a generally similar genome design and capsid structure, but which induce quite diverse diseases in humans and other animals. Picornavirus strains of the same serotype have been shown to express different virulence (or pathogenic) phenotypes when studied in animal models, demonstrating that key elements of pathogenesis reside in the viral genome. However, the genetics that determine the virulence phenotype of any picornavirus are poorly understood. Picornaviruses do not have virulence genes perse, but the design of the capsid and howit interacts with the virus receptor expressed on the host cell surface, specific sequences within the nontranslated regions of the viral genome, as well as coding sequences that result in different protein sequences may all have a part in determining the virulence phenotype. Virulence may be better understood as a continuum from an apparent inability to induce disease to the ability to cause severe pathogenic changes. Ultimately, the ability of a picornavirus to induce disease depends upon viral genetics and how they are modulated by the host environment.


Internal Ribosomal Entry Site Virulence Phenotype Encephalomyocarditis Virus Nontranslated Region Swine Vesicular Disease Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Tracy
    • 1
  • N. M. Chapman
    • 1
  • K. M. Drescher
    • 2
  • K. Kono
    • 1
  • W. Tapprich
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Pathology and MicrobiologyUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medical Microbiology and ImmunologyCreighton University School of MedicineOmahaUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of NebraskaOmahaUSA

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