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EMBO J. 2000 Aug 1;19(15):3932-44.

Vaccinia virus infection disrupts microtubule organization and centrosome function.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany.


We examined the role of the microtubule cytoskeleton during vaccinia virus infection. We found that newly assembled virus particles accumulate in the vicinity of the microtubule-organizing centre in a microtubule- and dynein-dynactin complex-dependent fashion. Microtubules are required for efficient intracellular mature virus (IMV) formation and are essential for intracellular enveloped virus (IEV) assembly. As infection proceeds, the microtubule cytoskeleton becomes dramatically reorganized in a fashion reminiscent of overexpression of microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs). Consistent with this, we report that the vaccinia proteins A10L and L4R have MAP-like properties and mediate direct binding of viral cores to microtubules in vitro. In addition, vaccinia infection also results in severe reduction of proteins at the centrosome and loss of centrosomal microtubule nucleation efficiency. This represents the first example of viral-induced disruption of centrosome function. Further studies with vaccinia will provide insights into the role of microtubules during viral pathogenesis and regulation of centrosome function.

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