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AAPS J. 2009 Mar;11(1):65-77. doi: 10.1208/s12248-009-9080-9. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

Learning from the viral journey: how to enter cells and how to overcome intracellular barriers to reach the nucleus.

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  • 1Laboratory for Molecular Design of Pharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokkaido University, Kita-12, Nishi-6, Kita-ku, Sapporo, 060-0812, Japan.


Viruses deliver their genome into host cells where they subsequently replicate and multiply. A variety of relevant strategies have evolved by which viruses gain intracellular access and utilize cellular machinery for the synthesis of their genome. Therefore, the viral journey provides insight into the cell's trafficking machinery and how it can be best exploited to improve nonviral gene delivery systems. This review summarizes viral internalization pathways and intracellular trafficking of viruses, with an emphasis on the endosomal escape processes of nonenveloped viruses. Intracellular events from viral entry through nuclear delivery of the viral complementary DNA are also discussed.

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