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Adv Virus Res. 2013;86:149-76. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394315-6.00006-4.

The family narnaviridae: simplest of RNA viruses.

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Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.


Members of the virus family Narnaviridae contain the simplest genomes of any RNA virus, ranging from 2.3 to 3.6 kb and encoding only a single polypeptide that has an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase domain. The family is subdivided into two genera based on subcellular location: members of the genus Narnavirus have been found in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and in the oomycete Phytophthora infestans and are confined to the cytosol, while members of the genus Mitovirus have been found only in filamentous fungi and are found in mitochondria. None identified thus far encodes a capsid protein; like several other RNA viruses of lower eukaryotes, their genomes are confined within lipid vesicles. As more family members are discovered, their importance as genetic elements is becoming evident. The unique association of the genus Mitovirus with mitochondria renders them potentially valuable tools to study biology of lower eukaryotes.

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