Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The family Pseudoviridae is comprised of a large group of mobile genetic elements found in the genomes of diverse hosts. Members of the family Pseudoviridae and those of the related family Metaviridae are often referred to as long-terminal repeat or LTR retrotransposons. The LTRs delimit the integrated provirus, which typically encodes two genes - gag and pol - whose products function analogously to their retroviral counterparts. Members of the family Pseudoviridae have a characteristic pol gene organization in which the coding region for integrase precedes reverse transcriptase. During replication, reverse transcriptase copies the viral mRNA into cDNA within a nucleoprotein complex called the virus-like particle, prior to inserting the cDNA into the host genome. Three genera constitute the family Pseudoviridae - Pseudovirus, Hemivirus, and Sirevirus. The pseudoviruses and hemiviruses are found in genomes of diverse eukaryotic hosts and are distinguished by the primer used for reverse transcription: the pseudoviruses use a full-length tRNA, whereas the hemiviruses use a tRNA fragment. The sireviruses are found exclusively in plants, and many encode an additional open reading frame downstream of pol reminiscent of retroviral env genes. Despite the presence of the env-like gene, no species in the family Pseudoviridae are known to be infectious.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Virology
PublisherElsevier Ltd
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780123744104
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Env
  • Gag
  • Integrase
  • Long terminal repeat
  • Pol
  • Protease
  • Retrotransposon
  • Reverse transcriptase
  • Strong-stop DNA
  • TRNA


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