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J Cell Biol. 2005 Jan 31;168(3):477-88. Epub 2005 Jan 24.

Clathrin- and caveolin-1-independent endocytosis: entry of simian virus 40 into cells devoid of caveolae.

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Institute of Biochemistry, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETHZ), CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland.


Simian Virus 40 (SV40) has been shown to enter host cells by caveolar endocytosis followed by transport via caveosomes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Using a caveolin-1 (cav-1)-deficient cell line (human hepatoma 7) and embryonic fibroblasts from a cav-1 knockout mouse, we found that in the absence of caveolae, but also in wild-type embryonic fibroblasts, the virus exploits an alternative, cav-1-independent pathway. Internalization was rapid (t1/2 = 20 min) and cholesterol and tyrosine kinase dependent but independent of clathrin, dynamin II, and ARF6. The viruses were internalized in small, tight-fitting vesicles and transported to membrane-bounded, pH-neutral organelles similar to caveosomes but devoid of cav-1 and -2. The viruses were next transferred by microtubule-dependent vesicular transport to the ER, a step that was required for infectivity. Our results revealed the existence of a virus-activated endocytic pathway from the plasma membrane to the ER that involves neither clathrin nor caveolae and that can be activated also in the presence of cav-1.

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