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Huángjiāo virus (HUJV) is the only currently classified thamnovirus. Like striaviruses, but unlike cuevaviruses, ebolaviruses, and marburgviruses, thamnoviruses apparently infect fish (Shi et al., 2018). Like striaviruses, thamnoviruses are notable in that their genomes do not encode obvious surface glycoproteins or VP40 and VP30 homologs.
Virions are assumed to contain one or several copies of linear negative-sense RNA genomes that are encapsidated independently.
Thamnoviruses likely express at least 6 proteins, of which at least two (NP and L) are homologs of proteins expressed by other filoviruses. The second most abundant structural protein in a thamnovirion is assumed to be the nucleoprotein (NP), which encapsidates the striavirus genome. The least abundant protein is assumed to be the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (L), which mediates thamnovirus genome replication and transcription (Shi et al., 2018).
The thamnovirus genome has the gene order: 3′- U1-NP-U2-U3-U4-L-5′ with U denoting genes expressing proteins of unknown function (Figure 1.Thamnovirus). The undetermined extragenic sequences at the extreme 3′ (leader) and 5′ (trailer) ends of the genome are assumed to be conserved and partially complementary. The transcriptional initiation and termination (polyadenylation) sites have yet to be identified.
Figure 1.Thamnovirus. Schematic representation of the thamnovirus genome organization. Genomes are drawn to scale. Courtesy of Jiro Wada, IRF-Frederick, Fort Detrick, MD, USA.
The replication strategy of thamnoviruses remains to be studied.
Thamnoviruses were discovered in 2011 by next generation sequencing of samples taken from greenfin horse-faced filefish (Thamnaconus septentrionalis Günther, 1874) captured by fishing trawlers in the East China Sea (Shi et al., 2018).
Thamnovirus: from Thamnaconus septentrionalis, the fish species to which the presumed host of HUJV, greenfin horse-faced filefish, has been assigned (Shi et al., 2018).
The genus currently includes only a single species.
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