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Viruses 2010, 2(4), 1008-1010; doi:10.3390/v2041008

Retroviruses and the Third Synapse

The Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, The University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX13RE, UK
Received: 14 April 2010 / Accepted: 15 April 2010 / Published: 15 April 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transmission of Retroviruses across Virological Synapses)
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The direct movement of viruses between contacting cells as a mode of dissemination distinct from the release of cell-free virions was hinted at in pioneering experiments first reported almost eighty years ago [1], and confirmed and extended 30 years later [2,3]. This early work was carried out using the tools of the time in the absence of the modern cell biological, immunological and virological techniques available today. As such, although many of the basic concepts were established for cell-to-cell spread prior to the discovery of retroviruses, descriptions of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon were lacking. Papers from two decades ago revealed that HIV-1 could spread between cultured lymphocytes by cell-to-cell spread [4], proposed that this mechanism of dissemination was substantially more efficient than diffusion-limited spread of cell-free virions [5,6], and suggested that this might be a mechanism of evasion from antibody neutralization [4]. [...]
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Sattentau, Q.J. Retroviruses and the Third Synapse. Viruses 2010, 2, 1008-1010.

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