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Alphacoronaviruses are the first of the four genera, Alpha-, Beta-, Gamma-, and Deltacoronavirus in the subfamily Coronavirinae of the family Coronaviridae. Coronaviruses are enveloped, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA viruses that include both human and zoonotic species. Within this subfamily, viruses have spherical virions with club-shaped surface projections and a core shell. The name is from the Latin corona, meaning crown, which describes the appearance of the projections seen under electron microscopy that resemble a solar corona. This genus contains what were previously considered phylogroup 1 coronaviruses.[1]

Virus classification e
(unranked): Virus
Realm: Riboviria
(unranked): incertae sedis
Order: Nidovirales
Family: Coronaviridae
Subfamily: Orthocoronavirinae
Genus: Alphacoronavirus
Subgenera and Species

Both the Alpha- and Betacoronavirus lineages descend from the bat gene pool.[2][3][4]



The virion is enveloped and spherical measuring 120–160 nm in diameter and a core shell of about 65 nm. Glycoproteins and trimers form large surface projections which create the appearance of solar corona from which it takes its name. The genome is positive-sense, single-stranded RNA with a length of 27 to 29 kilobases and a 3’-polyA tail. Two large, overlapping ORFs at the 5'-end of the genome encode the major non-structural proteins expressed as a fusion protein by ribosomal frameshift. These include regions with protease, helicase and RNA polymerase motifs. There are 7 other genes downstream which encode structural proteins. These are expressed from a 3'-coterminal nested set of subgenomic mRNAs.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Decaro, Nicola (2011). "Alphacoronavirus‡—Springer" (PDF). The Springer Index of Viruses. pp. 371–383. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-95919-1_56. ISBN 978-0-387-95918-4. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  2. ^ Woo, P. C.; Wang, M.; Lau, S. K.; Xu, H.; Poon, R. W.; Guo, R.; Wong, B. H.; Gao, K.; Tsoi, H. W.; Huang, Y.; Li, K. S.; Lam, C. S.; Chan, K. H.; Zheng, B. J.; Yuen, K. Y. (2007). "Comparative analysis of twelve genomes of three novel group 2c and group 2d coronaviruses reveals unique group and subgroup features". Journal of Virology. 81 (4): 1574–85. doi:10.1128/JVI.02182-06. PMC 1797546. PMID 17121802.
  3. ^ Lau, S. K.; Woo, P. C.; Yip, C. C.; Fan, R. Y.; Huang, Y.; Wang, M.; Guo, R.; Lam, C. S.; Tsang, A. K.; Lai, K. K.; Chan, K. H.; Che, X. Y.; Zheng, B. J.; Yuen, K. Y. (2012). "Isolation and characterization of a novel Betacoronavirus subgroup A coronavirus, rabbit coronavirus HKU14, from domestic rabbits". Journal of Virology. 86 (10): 5481–96. doi:10.1128/JVI.06927-11. PMC 3347282. PMID 22398294.
  4. ^ Lau, S. K.; Poon, R. W.; Wong, B. H.; Wang, M.; Huang, Y.; Xu, H.; Guo, R.; Li, K. S.; Gao, K.; Chan, K. H.; Zheng, B. J.; Woo, P. C.; Yuen, K. Y. (2010). "Coexistence of different genotypes in the same bat and serological characterization of Rousettus bat coronavirus HKU9 belonging to a novel Betacoronavirus subgroup". Journal of Virology. 84 (21): 11385–94. doi:10.1128/JVI.01121-10. PMC 2953156. PMID 20702646.

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