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Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2003 Jun;67(2):226-37, table of contents.

Virus entry, assembly, budding, and membrane rafts.

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Immunologie-Virologie, EA 3038, Université Paul Sabatier, 31062 Toulouse, France.


As intracellular parasites, viruses rely heavily on the use of numerous cellular machineries for completion of their replication cycle. The recent discovery of the heterogeneous distribution of the various lipids within cell membranes has led to the proposal that sphingolipids and cholesterol tend to segregate in microdomains called membrane rafts. The involvement of membrane rafts in biosynthetic traffic, signal transduction, and endocytosis has suggested that viruses may also take advantage of rafts for completion of some steps of their replication cycle, such as entry into their cell host, assembly, and budding. In this review, we have attempted to delineate all the reliable data sustaining this hypothesis and to build some models of how rafts are used as platforms for assembly of some viruses. Indeed, if in many cases a formal proof of raft involvement in a virus replication cycle is still lacking, one can reasonably suggest that, owing to their ability to specifically attract some proteins, lipid microdomains provide a particular milieu suitable for increasing the efficiency of many protein-protein interactions which are crucial for virus infection and growth.

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