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J Virol. 2010 Sep;84(17):8360-8. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00443-10. Epub 2010 Apr 7.

Virus cell-to-cell transmission.

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Microbial Pathogenesis, Yale School of Medicine, 295 Congress Ave, BCMM 335, New Haven, CT 06536, USA.


Viral infections spread based on the ability of viruses to overcome multiple barriers and move from cell to cell, tissue to tissue, and person to person and even across species. While there are fundamental differences between these types of transmissions, it has emerged that the ability of viruses to utilize and manipulate cell-cell contact contributes to the success of viral infections. Central to the excitement in the field of virus cell-to-cell transmission is the idea that cell-to-cell spread is more than the sum of the processes of virus release and entry. This implies that virus release and entry are efficiently coordinated to sites of cell-cell contact, resulting in a process that is distinct from its individual components. In this review, we will present support for this model, illustrate the ability of viruses to utilize and manipulate cell adhesion molecules, and discuss the mechanism and driving forces of directional spreading. An understanding of viral cell-to-cell spreading will enhance our ability to intervene in the efficient spreading of viral infections.

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