Viral exploitation of actin: force-generation and scaffolding functions in viral infection
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- Spear, M. & Wu, Y. Virol. Sin. (2014) 29: 139. doi:10.1007/s12250-014-3476-0
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As a fundamental component of the host cellular cytoskeleton, actin is routinely engaged by infecting viruses. Furthermore, viruses from diverse groups, and infecting diverse hosts, have convergently evolved an array of mechanisms for manipulating the actin cytoskeleton for efficacious infection. An ongoing chorus of research now indicates that the actin cytoskeleton is critical for viral replication at many stages of the viral life cycle, including binding, entry, nuclear localization, genomic transcription and reverse transcription, assembly, and egress/dissemination. Specifically, viruses subvert the force-generating and macromolecular scaffolding properties of the actin cytoskeleton to propel viral surfing, internalization, and migration within the cell. Additionally, viruses utilize the actin cytoskeleton to support and organize assembly sites, and eject budding virions for cell-to-cell transmission. It is the purpose of this review to provide an overview of current research, focusing on the various mechanisms and themes of virus-mediated actin modulation described therein.