Almost all types of cells release extracellular vesicles (EVs) into the extracellular space. EVs such as exosomes and microvesicles are membrane-bound vesicles ranging in size from 30 to 1000 nm in diameter. Under normal conditions, EVs mediate cell to cell as well as inter-organ communication via the shuttling of their cargoes which include RNA, DNA and proteins. Under pathological conditions, however, the number, size and content of EVs are found to be altered and have been shown to play crucial roles in disease progression. Emerging studies have demonstrated that EVs are involved in many aspects of viral infection-mediated neurodegenerative diseases. In the current review, we will describe the interactions between EV biogenesis and the release of virus particles while also reviewing the role of EVs in various viral infections, such as HIV-1, HTLV, Zika, CMV, EBV, Hepatitis B and C, JCV, and HSV-1. We will also discuss the potential uses of EVs and their cargoes as biomarkers and therapeutic vehicles for viral infections.
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