The scope of this review is limited to the basic biochemical constituency of the bunyaviruses and the structure-function relationships of their proteins and nucleic acids. The complex antigenic relations among bunyaviruses have been reviewed elsewhere, and extensive ecological and epidemiologic information can be found in several other timely reviews. The family Bunyaviridae is a newly defined taxonomic group of arboviruses which contain lipid envelopes and segmented RNA genomes. Previously, about 90 viruses had been assigned to 11 serogroups, and these were brought together on the basis of distant serologic cross-reactions to form the Bunyamwera serologic supergroup. Representative viruses of each of the serogroups had been characterized morphologically and were found to be indistinguishable from each other, yet distinct from viruses of all other established groups. These viruses now constitute the Bunyavirus genus within the Bunyaviridae family; Bunyamwera virus is the type virus. An additional 54 viruses have now been found to be morphologically, and in some cases biochemically, similar to Bunyamwera virus, but serologically independent of the supergroup. These viruses have been proposed as 'other possible members' of the family without consideration of generic status.
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