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Viruses 2015, 7(6), 3204-3225;

Exosomes and Their Role in the Life Cycle and Pathogenesis of RNA Viruses

Departments of Pediatrics, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, TX 77555, USA
Sealy Center for Vaccine Development, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, TX 77555, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Yorgo Modis
Received: 15 April 2015 / Revised: 3 June 2015 / Accepted: 5 June 2015 / Published: 19 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses and Exosomes)
PDF [1365 KB, uploaded 19 June 2015]


Exosomes are membrane-enclosed vesicles actively released into the extracellular space, whose content reflect the physiological/pathological state of the cells they originate from. These vesicles participate in cell-to-cell communication and transfer of biologically active proteins, lipids, and RNAs. Their role in viral infections is just beginning to be appreciated. RNA viruses are an important class of pathogens and affect millions of people worldwide. Recent studies on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV), and Dengue Virus (DENV) have demonstrated that exosomes released from infected cells harbor and deliver many regulatory factors including viral RNA and proteins, viral and cellular miRNA, and other host functional genetic elements to neighboring cells, helping to establish productive infections and modulating cellular responses. Exosomes can either spread or limit an infection depending on the type of pathogen and target cells, and can be exploited as candidates for development of antiviral or vaccine treatments. This review summarizes recent progress made in understanding the role of exosomes in RNA virus infections with an emphasis on their potential contribution to pathogenesis. View Full-Text
Keywords: exosomes; microvesicles; RNA virus; pathogenesis; miRNA; infection exosomes; microvesicles; RNA virus; pathogenesis; miRNA; infection

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Chahar, H.S.; Bao, X.; Casola, A. Exosomes and Their Role in the Life Cycle and Pathogenesis of RNA Viruses. Viruses 2015, 7, 3204-3225.

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