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Current Opinion in Cell Biology
Vol. 41, 2016, Pages: 81–90

Viruses exploit the tissue physiology of the host to spread in vivo

Xaver Sewald, Nasim Motamedi, Walther Mothes

Max von Pettenkofer-Institute, Department of Virology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany.


Viruses are pathogens that strictly depend on their host for propagation. Over years of co-evolution viruses have become experts in exploiting the host cell biology and physiology to ensure efficient replication and spread. Here, we will first summarize the concepts that have emerged from in vitro cell culture studies to understand virus spread. We will then review the results from studies in living animals that reveal how viruses exploit the natural flow of body fluids, specific tissue architecture, and patterns of cell circulation and migration to spread within the host. Understanding tissue physiology will be critical for the design of antiviral strategies that prevent virus dissemination.

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