Reoviruses have three highly interesting and characteristic features regarding replication. They are dsRNA viruses which replicate in the cytoplasm (indicating they have everything they need for replication and do not utilize the cells replication enzymes) and they do not fully uncoat during the process of replication. The reason for their failure to fully uncoat is that the coat is resistant to protease digestion, which prevents them from being completely destroyed by the infected cell. The mRNA used in translation is synthesized from the negative strand of the dsRNA. Each negative strand produces many positive strands. The process utilizes particle-associated transcriptase. Neither of the strands of dsRNA appear among the transcription products, and both strands remain in the uncoated core particle. The capped positive strand of RNA found in progeny dsRNA is synthesized from the negative strand template found in the dsRNA within the parental cores. These capped transcripts that result from primary transcription are not polyadenylated. Later in infection, secondary transcription occurs and results in uncapped non-polyadenylated transcripts. mRNAs leave the core and get translated in the cytoplasm. The segmented genome allows for possible reassortment, something that has yet to be seen naturally but can be made to occur in vitro.

Several differences exist in the modes of entry into and exit from cells between the different genera in the Reoviridae family. The most extensively studied virus of the Reoviridae family are the Orthreoviruses which enter the cell either by receptor mediated endocytosis or as a result of digestion with chymotrypsin in the intestine. Intermediate subviral particles may pass into the cytoplasm by the endosmal pathway or directly.

Initially in replication only certain genes are transcribed, the others are transcribed after the synthesis of early viral protein. The virions are released by cell lysis after they have self-assembled and have accumulated in the inclusion bodies in the cell's cytoplasm.

Since Rotaviruses are the single most important etiologic agents of severe diarrheal infection in young children, the concentration here will lay with their cycle of replication. The replication cycle has been primarily studied in continuous cell cultures made from monkey kidneys. The cycle in these cells has maximum yields at about 10-12 hours. Key features of the cycle are:
1)Rotavirus' ligands on the outer capsid hemagglutinating protein VP4 bind to sialic acid receptors on the cell about to be infected.
2)In order for the virion to enter the cytoplasm, cleavage of VP4 by trypsin is required. This occurs when the virion makes direct contact with the cytoplasm.
3)The outer capsid glycoprotein VP7 is retained in the rough endoplasmic reticulum.
4)The Rotavirus precursor, with the help of a nonstructural glycoprotein, buds off into the cisternae of the rough endoplasmic reticulum. Here, it acquires a temporary envelope which is later removed so that the entire outer capsid can be assembled by VP7.
5) Inclusion bodies are formed in infected cells 6-7 hours after infection.

Major features of the rotavirus replication cycle. Reprinted from Dr. Alan Cann's Tulane website