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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2016 Jul;14(7):407-420. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro.2016.60. Epub 2016 Jun 6.

Opportunistic intruders: how viruses orchestrate ER functions to infect cells.

Author information

Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan Medical School, 109 Zina Pitcher Place, Room 3043, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.
Contributed equally


Viruses subvert the functions of their host cells to replicate and form new viral progeny. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) has been identified as a central organelle that governs the intracellular interplay between viruses and hosts. In this Review, we analyse how viruses from vastly different families converge on this unique intracellular organelle during infection, co-opting some of the endogenous functions of the ER to promote distinct steps of the viral life cycle from entry and replication to assembly and egress. The ER can act as the common denominator during infection for diverse virus families, thereby providing a shared principle that underlies the apparent complexity of relationships between viruses and host cells. As a plethora of information illuminating the molecular and cellular basis of virus-ER interactions has become available, these insights may lead to the development of crucial therapeutic agents.

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