Molecular cloning and complete nucleotide sequencing of Penicillium chrysogenum virus (PcV) dsRNAs indicated that PcV virions contained four dsRNA segments with sizes of 3562, 3200, 2976 and 2902 bp. Each dsRNA segment had unique sequences and contained a single large open reading frame (ORF). In vitro translation of transcripts derived from full-length cDNA clones of PcV dsRNAs yielded single products of sizes similar to those predicted from the deduced amino acid sequences of the individual ORFs. Sequence similarity searches revealed that dsRNA1 encodes a putative RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. In this study, it was determined that dsRNA2 encodes the major capsid protein and that p4, encoded by dsRNA4, is virion-associated as a minor component. All four dsRNAs of PcV, like the genomic segments of viruses with multipartite genomes, were found to have extended regions of highly conserved terminal sequences at both ends. In addition to the strictly conserved 5'-terminal 10 nt, a second region consisting of reiteration of the sequence CAA was found immediately upstream of the AUG initiator codon. These (CAA)(n) repeats are reminiscent of the translational enhancer elements of tobamoviruses. The 3'-terminal 14 nt were also strictly conserved. As PcV and related viruses with four dsRNA segments (genus Chrysovirus) have not been previously characterized at the molecular level, they were provisionally classified in the family Partitiviridae, comprising viruses with bipartite genomes. This study represents the first report on molecular characterization of a chrysovirus and the results suggest the creation of a new family of mycoviruses with multipartite dsRNA genomes to accommodate PcV and related viruses.