Rabies Virus- An Overview


Rabies virus is a member of the family Rhabdoviridae and the genus Lyssavirus. It is an enveloped, single-stranded RNA virus with a bullet-shaped or rod-shaped morphology . The virus measures approximately 75 x 180 nm and has a buoyant density in CsCl of about 1.19 g/cm3.

The virus has two major structural components: a helical ribonucleoprotein core (RNP) and a surrounding envelope. The RNP consists of the viral RNA genome tightly encased by the nucleoprotein (N) and associated with the phosphoprotein (P) and the large polymerase protein (L) . The envelope is a lipid-containing bilayer derived from the host cell membrane and covered with transmembrane glycoprotein spikes (G) . The matrix protein (M) forms a layer between the envelope and the RNP and plays a role in virus assembly and budding .

The viral genome is a linear, non-segmented, negative-sense RNA molecule of about 12 kb in length . It encodes five proteins: N, P, M, G, and L, in that order . The genome also has a leader sequence at the 3` end and a trailer sequence at the 5` end that are involved in transcription and replication.