Members of the family Dicistroviridae
are small RNA viruses containing a monopartite positive-sense RNA genome. Dicistroviruses mainly infect arthropods, causing diseases that impact agriculture and the economy. In this chapter, we provide an overview of current and past research on dicistroviruses including the viral life cycle, viral translational control mechanisms, virus structure, and the use of dicistrovirus infection in Drosophila
as a model to identify insect antiviral responses. We then delve into how research on dicistrovirus mechanisms has yielded insights into ribosome dynamics, RNA structure/function and insect innate immunity signaling. Finally, we highlight the diseases caused by dicistroviruses, their impacts on agriculture including the shrimp and honey bee industries, and the potential use of dicistroviruses as biopesticides. Although knowledge of the mechanisms underlying dicistrovirus virus-host interactions is limited, the establishment of the first infectious clone should accelerate the discovery of new mechanistic insights into dicistrovirus infections and pathogenesis.