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Making it to the synapse: measles virus spread in and among neurons.

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  • 1Division of Basic Science, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.

Abstract

Measles virus (MV) is one of the most transmissible microorganisms known, continuing to result in extensive morbidity and mortality worldwide. While rare, MV can infect the human central nervous system, triggering fatal CNS diseases weeks to years after exposure. The advent of crucial laboratory tools to dissect MV neuropathogenesis, including permissive transgenic mouse models, the capacity to manipulate the viral genome using reverse genetics, and cell biology advances in understanding the processes that govern intracellular trafficking of viral components, have substantially clarified how MV infects, spreads, and persists in this unique cell population. This review highlights some of these technical advances, followed by a discussion of our present understanding of MV neuronal infection and transport. Because some of these processes may be shared among diverse viruses, comparisons are made to parallel studies with other neurotropic viruses. While a crystallized view of how the unique environment of the neuron affects MV replication, spread, and, ultimately, neuropathogenesis is not fully realized, the tools and ideas are in place for exciting advances in the coming years.

PMID:
19203102
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2794412
Free PMC Article

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