Introduction. Progress in coronavirology is illustrated by the number of workshops convened and reviews written. International meetings have been held in Germany (1980), the Netherlands (1983) and the U.S.A. (1986), and the Fourth Coronavirus Symposium will be organized by one of us (D.C.) in Cambridge, U.K. in July 1989. In addition, reviews have appeared which highlighted particularly interesting characteristics of the family, e.g. the replication strategy (Lai, 1986) and the glycoproteins (Sturman & Holmes, 1985). As the last general accounts were published some 5 years ago (Siddell et al., 1983; Sturman & Holmes, 1983) an update is timely. The present article is based on the large amount of sequence data accumulated in these years and focuses on the viral nucleic acids and proteins and their function.
Coronaviruses cause infections in man, other mammals and birds. Most experimental data have been obtained from studies of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) and infectious bronchitis virus of chickens (IBV).