Polyhedral virions 120-350 nm in diameter. The capsid displays an icosahedral symmetry T=189-217, with an internal lipid membrane. Virions are either externally enveloped or not depending whether they budded from the cell membrane, or were arranged in paracrystaline array in the host cell cytoplasm and were released by lysis.


Linear, dsDNA genome of 140-303 kb. The genome contains terminal and redundant sequences and is circularly permuted.
Members of the genera Iridovirus and Chloriridovirus lack a highly methylated genome. In contrast, members of the Ranavirus, Lymphocystivirus, and Megalocytivirus genera possess genomes in which approximately 25% of the cytosine residues are methylated by a virus encoded DNA methyltransferase.




  1. Attachement of the viral proteins to host receptors mediates endocytosis of the virus into the host cell.
  2. Fusion with the plasma membrane to release the DNA core into the host cytoplasm.
  3. Viral DNA is transported to the cell nucleus where host macromolecular synthesis is rapidly shutdown. Transcription is initiated by virally modified host RNA polymerase II.
  4. Parental DNA is used to produce genome and greater than genome length DNA.
  5. Progeny DNA is transported into cytoplasmic viral factories where large concatamers of viral DNA are formed by recombination. Transcription of very late transcripts may also take place in the cytoplasm.
  6. Assembly of new virions in the cytoplasm.
  7. Virions exit the cell by budding or cell lysis.

Host-virus interaction

Apoptosis modulation

Chilo iridescent virus encodes a functional inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) . The grouper iridovirus (GIV) contains an antiapoptotic B-cell lymphoma (Bcl)-2-like gene that also inhibits host apoptosis.