Parvoviruses are amongst the smallest known animal viruses, consisting of a single‐stranded DNA genome of approximately 5 kb, encapsidated in an icosahedral protein shell built from 60 copies of a single polypeptide. Viral DNA is replicated by a unique, unidirectional, leading‐strand specific mechanism dubbed ‘rolling hairpin replication’, which depends critically upon a virally‐coded nickase, and the sequential folding and unfolding of small palindromic terminal sequences.

Keywords: single‐stranded DNA; nonenveloped virion; rolling circle replication; oncotropic virus; teratogenic agent

Figure 1.

Depth‐cued image of minute virus of mice virion, constructed from the atomic model, viewed down a fivefold axis, showing the cylindrical pore that penetrates to the inside of the particle at each of these 12 vertices. The red triangle denotes the crystallographic asymmetric unit, the smallest repeating segment of the structure. Reprinted from Agbandje‐McKenna et al. . Copyright 1998, with permission from Elsevier Science.

Figure 2.

The coding strategy of the minute virus of mice genome, showing the positions of the two promoters, P4 and P38, within the negative‐strand viral DNA molecule, with its terminal hairpins, displayed above the mRNA splicing strategy. The coloured boxes indicate the reading frame that encodes each segment of viral polypeptide. NS2 occurs in three forms, differing in their C‐terminal hexapeptide sequences. NS3 is the putative product of readthrough of the single terminator codon of NS2P, which generates a 90 amino acid C‐terminal extension, conserved throughout the rodent parvoviruses.

Figure 3.

Rolling hairpin replication. The sequence of the parental parvoviral genome is shown in blue, and those of progeny genomes are shown in yellow. The green circle represents NS1, which nicks the covalently‐continuous monomer and remains attached to its 5′ end. DNA, which is newly synthesized in each step, is indicated by the black bar with an arrow at its 3′ end. L and R depict the palindromic sequences at each terminus, with their complements represented by l and r, respectively. Step (ix) produces a tetramer in which there are three progeny genomes, in addition to the parental sequence. These genomic sequences overlap and are distributed throughout the molecule on alternate strands.



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Further Reading

Abstracts of the VIIIth Parvovirus Workshop, June 28–July 2 (2000). Mont‐Tremblant, Quebec, Canada. Infectious Disease Review 2: 135–177.

Corsini J, Afanasiev B, Maxwell IH and Carlson JO (1996) Autonomous parvovirus and densovirus gene vectors. Advances in Virus Research 47: 303–351.

Parrish CR (ed.) (1995) Autonomous animal parvoviruses. Seminars in Virology 6 (4).

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How to Cite close
Tattersall, Peter, and Cotmore, Susan F(Jul 2003) Parvoviruses. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000423]