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Viruses bridge gap to healthy cells

Retroviruses build cytoplasmic "bridges" to help them move from infected to target cells

Chandra Shekhar
In a striking demonstration of how retroviruses exploit cellular machinery to infect healthy cells, researchers have caught the viruses crawling along long, thin cytoplasmic filaments from infected to target cells. Using high-resolution live imaging, the researchers provide evidence of this previously unknown mode of viral transmission in this week's Nature Cell Biology."It almost looks like the virus is walking from one cell to another," said Dimiter Dimitrov of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., who was not involved in the study. "The study is a step further in our understanding of the mechanics of cell to cell transmission."The team, led by Walther Mothes of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., worked with different co-cultures of healthy cells and cells infected with murine leukemia virus (MLV). The researchers observed that viral particles that moved from infected to target cells traveled mostly along filopodia -- thin, elongated actin-based filaments that...

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