Journal: Virologie. Volume 12, Numéro 4, 249-60
Directorate: Scientific Directorate
The orthoreoviruses are segmented double strand RNA viruses and are the most abundant viruses in nature. Three main serotypes are known, named 1, 2 and 3. The designation "reovirus" is the acronym for "respiratory enteric orphan virus", expression underlining their respiratory and enteric origin and the fact that they are not associated with well defined clinical disease. Nevertheless, strains of orthoreoviruses have been isolated from several cases of symptomatic diseases in human, namely diseases of the central nervous system such as encephalitis and meningitis sometimes leading to patient death. These different cases show that orthoreoviruses could be pathogenic, causing fatal diseases. Orthoreoviruses infection in animals induces also several diseases. Indeed, according to the inoculation route and the serotype of inoculated strain, encepha- litis or hepatitis can be observed. The RNA segments M2 and S1 seem to be involved in this neurovirulence property and are on the basis of cellular mecha- nisms, such as virus entry, virus replication and apoptosis. However, the mecha- nisms of virulence remain complex.