Rift valley fever virus (RVFV) belongs to the virus family Bunyaviridae, genus Phlebovirus. RVFV causes the rift valley fever (RVF), a viral zoonosis. The infection of RVFV happens primarily in animals such as cows, sheep, goats, camels, etc. Humans can also be infected. RVF spread by mosquitoes, touching infected blood, drinking raw milk from an infected animal, or breathing around a butchered infected animal. RVF is reported to outbreak only in sub-Saharan Africa and Arabic. It can cause both mild and severe symptoms. The mild symptoms often last for about one week, including fever, headaches, and muscle pains. The severe symptoms may include: loss of sight, severe headaches and confusion due to the infection of the brain, bleeding, liver problems, etc.
Fig. 1 RVFV particles under electron microscopy
RVFV is a negative-sense, enveloped RNA virus. It has a tripartite, ambisense genome with a length of about 11.5 kbp, it is composed of three segments identified as L, M and S. The M and L segments are negative-sense, but the S segment is ambisense. The three segments of RVFV genome encode six major proteins of RVFV: the L protein (the viral polymerase), glycoprotein G(C), glycoprotein G(N), nucleocapsid N protein, and two non-structural protein NSs and NSm proteins. Genaral features of RVFV replication and transcription are just similar to those negative stranded virus. Each segment of RVFV genome is transcribed into mRNA, and is replicated through a process which involves the synthesis of the antigenome, or complementary RNA (cRNA). The cRNA also act as template for the expression of the six main proteins.
Fig.2 Schematic diagram of Rift Valley Fever virus
Envelope of RVFV consists of a lipid bilayer along with the G(C) and G(N) glycoproteins, as well as other Bunyaviruses. Viral ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) corresponding to each of the three genomic segments are packed into the viral particles associated with many copies of RNA polymerase L and nucleocapsid N protein. Electron microscopy studies indicate that RVFV virion is likely to have a high ordered, icosahedral symmetry nucleocapsid. The capsid is constructed by 120-122 glycoprotein capsomers which are arranged in an icosahedral lattice with T = 12. The diameter of RVFV virion ranges from 90-110 nm as measured under electron microscopy and negative staining.
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