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Virus classification Edit this classification
(unranked): Virus
Realm: Riboviria
Kingdom: Pararnavirae
Phylum: Artverviricota
Class: Revtraviricetes
Order: Ortervirales
Family: Metaviridae


Metaviridae is a family of viruses which exist as Ty3-gypsy LTR retrotransposons in a eukaryotic host's genome.[1] They are closely related to retroviruses: members of the family Metaviridae share many genomic elements with retroviruses, including length, organization, and genes themselves. This includes genes that encode reverse transcriptase, integrase, and capsid proteins. The reverse transcriptase and integrase proteins are needed for the retrotransposon activity of the virus. In some cases, virus-like particles can be formed from capsid proteins.[2]

Some assembled virus-like particles of members of the family Metaviridae can penetrate and infect previously uninfected cells. An example of this is the gypsy, a retroelement found in the Drosophila melanogaster genome. The ability to infect other cells is determined by the presence of the retroviral env genes which encode coat proteins. Metaviridae is a family of retrotransposons found in all eukaryotes known and studied. Viruses of this family proliferate through intermediates called virus-like particles known for their ability to induce mutations and genome sequencing. Members of the family Metaviridae are often referred to as LTR-retrotransposons of the Ty3-gypsy family. Among the members are only species that produce intracellular particles, the collection of these particles is heterogeneous. Extracellular particles are surrounded by oval nuclei and are called virions. In many systems, virions are characterized biochemically. Genomes of retrotransposons in this family are positive strand RNAs. In addition to the RNA genome, some cellular RNAs can be randomly associated with particles, including specific tRNAs, in case of virus replication prepared by tRNAs. Particle fractions from cells are heterogeneous relative to maturation and are therefore associated with intermediate transcriptions and reverse transcription products in addition to genomic RNA. When it comes to virion producing members, it appears that the virion membrane is derived from the membrane of the host cell.[citation needed]


The family Metaviridae is split into the following genera:

Families Metaviridae, Belpaoviridae, Pseudoviridae, Retroviridae, and Caulimoviridae constitute the order Ortervirales.[3]


  1. ^ Llorens, C; Soriano, B; Krupovic, M; ICTV Report Consortium (November 2020). "ICTV Virus Taxonomy Profile: Metaviridae". The Journal of General Virology. 101 (11): 1131–1132. doi:10.1099/jgv.0.001509. PMC 7879559. PMID 33048045.
  2. ^ "ICTV Report Metaviridae".
  3. ^ Krupovic, M; Blomberg, J; Coffin, JM; Dasgupta, I; Fan, H; Geering, AD; Gifford, R; Harrach, B; Hull, R; Johnson, W; Kreuze, JF; Lindemann, D; Llorens, C; Lockhart, B; Mayer, J; Muller, E; Olszewski, N; Pappu, HR; Pooggin, M; Richert-Pöggeler, KR; Sabanadzovic, S; Sanfaçon, H; Schoelz, JE; Seal, S; Stavolone, L; Stoye, JP; Teycheney, PY; Tristem, M; Koonin, EV; Kuhn, JH (4 April 2018). "Ortervirales: A new viral order unifying five families of reverse-transcribing viruses" (PDF). Journal of Virology. 92 (12). doi:10.1128/JVI.00515-18. PMC 5974489. PMID 29618642.

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