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Cell Microbiol. 2010 Oct;12(10):1378-88. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2010.01510.x.

Come in and take your coat off - how host cells provide endocytosis for virus entry.

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Institutes of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Virology, Centre for Molecular Biology of Inflammation (ZMBE), University of Münster, Münster, Germany.


Viruses are intracellular parasites that rely upon the host cell machinery for their life cycle. Newly generated virus particles have to transmit their genomic information to uninfected cells/organisms. Viral entry is the process to gain access to viral replication sites within uninfected cells, a multistep course of events that starts with binding to target cells. Since viruses are simple in structure and composition and lack any locomotive capacity, viruses depend on hundreds of host cell proteins during entry. Most animal viruses take advantage of endocytosis to enter cells. Cell biological, morphological and biochemical studies, live cell imaging and systematic approaches have identified various new endocytic mechanisms besides clathrin-mediated endocytosis, macropinocytosis and caveolar/lipid raft-mediated endocytosis. Hence, studying virus entry has become ever more complex. This review provides a cell biological overview of the existing endocytic mechanisms and strategies used or potentially used by viruses to enter cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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