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Trends Microbiol. 2011 Jun;19(6):257-62. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2011.03.002. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Can viruses form biofilms?

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  • 1Institut Pasteur, Lymphocyte Cell Biology Unit, Department of Immunology, 28 rue du Dr Roux, F-75724 Paris, France. (marie-isabelle.thoulouze@pasteur.fr

Abstract

The recent finding that the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) encases itself in a carbohydrate-rich adhesive extracellular 'cocoon', which enables its efficient and protected transfer between cells, unveiled a new infectious entity and a novel mechanism of viral transmission. These HTLV-1 structures are observed at the surface of T cells from HTLV-1-infected patients and are reminiscent of bacterial biofilms. The virus controls the synthesis of the matrix, which surrounds the virions and attaches them to the T cell surface. We propose that, similar to bacterial biofilms, viral biofilms could represent 'viral communities' with enhanced infectious capacity and improved spread compared with 'free' viral particles, and might constitute a key reservoir for chronic infections.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID:
21458997
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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