The Family Herpesviridae: General Description, Taxonomy, and Classification

  • Bernard Roizman
Part of the The Viruses book series (VIRS)


In the last 50 years, more than 80 distinct herpesviruses have been isolated from a wide variety of animal species. These viruses, comprising the family Herpesviridae, share structural features of their virions. As listed in Table I, the herpesvirus virion is made of four architectural elements: (1) a core consisting of a fibrillar spool on which the DNA is wrapped; (2) an icosadeltahedral capsid containing 12 pentameric and 150 hexameric capsomeres; (3) variable amounts of globular material asymmetrically arranged around the capsid and designated as the tegument; and (4) a membrane or envelope surrounding the entire structure (Wildy et al., 1960; Roizman and Furlong, 1974). The virions of the various herpesviruses cannot be differentiated by electron-microscopic examination. The viruses are, however, readily differentiated on the basis of biological properties, the immunological specificity of their virions, and the size, base composition, and arrangement of their genomes. In fact, few virus families exhibit as much variation as the members of the family Herpesviridae.


Herpes Zoster Human Herpesvirus Equid Herpesvirus Lumpy Skin Disease Virus Black Stork 
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

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Roizman
    • 1
  1. 1.Marjorie B. Kovler Viral Oncology LaboratoriesThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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