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Viruses 2010, 2(4), 796-825; doi:10.3390/v2040796

Alphavirus Entry and Membrane Fusion

Department of Cell Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Ave., Bronx, NY 10461, USA
Current Address: Division of Hematology & Medical Oncology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY 10021, USA.
Current Address: Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158-2517, USA.
§
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 March 2010 / Revised: 19 March 2010 / Accepted: 23 March 2010 / Published: 26 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Lipids in Virus Replication)
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Abstract

The study of enveloped animal viruses has greatly advanced our understanding of the general properties of membrane fusion and of the specific pathways that viruses use to infect the host cell. The membrane fusion proteins of the alphaviruses and flaviviruses have many similarities in structure and function. As reviewed here, alphaviruses use receptor-mediated endocytic uptake and low pH-triggered membrane fusion to deliver their RNA genomes into the cytoplasm. Recent advances in understanding the biochemistry and structure of the alphavirus membrane fusion protein provide a clearer picture of this fusion reaction, including the protein’s conformational changes during fusion and the identification of key domains. These insights into the alphavirus fusion mechanism suggest new areas for experimental investigation and potential inhibitor strategies for anti-viral therapy.
Keywords: virus entry; membrane fusion; alphavirus; class II fusion protein; endocytosis virus entry; membrane fusion; alphavirus; class II fusion protein; endocytosis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kielian, M.; Chanel-Vos, C.; Liao, M. Alphavirus Entry and Membrane Fusion. Viruses 2010, 2, 796-825.

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