Adenoviruses: General Features

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Adenoviruses (family Adenoviridae) are nonenveloped, icosahedral particles with linear, double-stranded DNA genomes of 26-45 kbp containing inverted terminal repeats of 36-368 bp. Adeoviruses have been isolated from every major vertebrate class from fish to mammals. Members of genus Mastadenovirus occur in mammals and those of genus Aviadenovirus are found in birds. Reptilian adenoviruses belong to genus Atadenovirus, but other at adenoviruses occur also in ruminants, birds, and a marsupial (possibly as a result of host class switches) and have a high A+T content in these hosts. Genus Siadenovirus contains adenoviruses from birds and a frog, and is named after a putative sialidase gene that is absent from other genera. The single confirmed fish adenovirus falls into a potential fifth genus. Adenoviruses are grouped further into species based mainly on phylogenetic measures. Human (together with chimpanzee) adenoviruses are classified into six species: Human adenovirus A to Human adenovirus F. The structural and biological properties of the mastadenoviruses have been studied in detail, and the characterization of bird and lower vertebrate adenoviruses has just begun. The middle portion of all adenovirus genomes is well conserved, whereas the regions toward the ends are characteristic of genera and sometimes even species. Adenoviruses are popular candidates for vector development with a view to applications in gene therapy, immunization, and antitumor medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Virology
PublisherElsevier Ltd
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780123744104
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2008



  • Adenovirus
  • Atadenovirus
  • CAR receptor
  • Co-evolution
  • Fiber
  • Genome organization
  • Hexon
  • Mastadenovirus
  • Phylogeny
  • Siadenovirus
  • Species
  • Taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

Cite this

Harrach, B. (2008). Adenoviruses: General Features. In Encyclopedia of Virology (pp. 1-9). Elsevier Ltd.