History of Adenoviridae
Summary of Properties of Members of the Family Adenoviridae
Type of Genome Double Stranded, non-segmented, DNA
Capsid Morphology Icosahedral and Naked
Associated Disease Acute Respiratory Disease
Etymology of Viral Family Name Named after the original tissue, Adenoid, where the virus was discovered
Oncogenic Potential Known to cause tumors in laboratory animals, no cases of human cancers
Year of Discovery 1953
EM appearance Hexagonal with spikes protruding from vertices
Genome Weight 20 x 10^6 - 25 x 10^6 daltons
Genome Length 36 kilobases
Virion Size 70-90 nm in diameter

Adenoviruses were first discovered in 1953, by Rowe and his colleagues. These viruses were first isolated from Adenoid cell culture, hence the family name of Adenoviridae. At present, 51 distinct serotypes have been recognized and recorded.

In 1962, Trentin and colleagues made the important discovery that adenovirus 12 could induce tumors in hamsters in a laboratory setting. Since this discovery, adenoviruses have been suspected in inducing human cancers but have not been proven to definitively cause cancer in humans.

Experiments involving adenoviruses have also made important contributions to molecular biology. Most importantly, adenoviruses have helped scientist to understand messenger RNA splicing. By studying the mRNA produced by adenoviruses, scientists have realized that there were introns imbedded into these transcripts.

Image courtesy of www.adenovirus.com/about

It's Hot Hot Hot! New Discoveries about the Evolution of Adenoviruses

New studies that examined the genetic content, protease and small subunit of rRNA have shown the adenoviruses co-speciate with their hosts. There are four known genera of adenoviruses, these include the mastadenoviruses, aviadenoviruses, atadenoviruses, and siadnoviruses. For instance, mastadenoviruses can only infect mammalian hosts and aviadenoviruses can only infect bird hosts. The other two genera, atadenovirus and siadenoviruses, do not have as clear cut distinction about the types of hosts they can infect. Studies of atadenovirus have proven that they can infect poultry, ruminants, and marsupials; however, scientists now believe that this virus has a reptilian source. While modern siadenoviruses infect birds, they are believed to have originated in amphibians. Finally, the recent discovery of the partial sequence of a fish adenovirus reinforces the hypothesis that adenoviruses have evolved to infect distinct vertebrate lineages.

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