Biomolecular Concepts (Dec 2016)

Role of non-motile microtubule-associated proteins in virus trafficking

  • Portilho Débora M.,
  • Persson Roger,
  • Arhel Nathalie

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 5-6
pp. 283 – 292


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Viruses are entirely dependent on their ability to infect a host cell in order to replicate. To reach their site of replication as rapidly and efficiently as possible following cell entry, many have evolved elaborate mechanisms to hijack the cellular transport machinery to propel themselves across the cytoplasm. Long-range movements have been shown to involve motor proteins along microtubules (MTs) and direct interactions between viral proteins and dynein and/or kinesin motors have been well described. Although less well-characterized, it is also becoming increasingly clear that non-motile microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs), including structural MAPs of the MAP1 and MAP2 families, and microtubule plus-end tracking proteins (+TIPs), can also promote viral trafficking in infected cells, by mediating interaction of viruses with filaments and/or motor proteins, and modulating filament stability. Here we review our current knowledge on non-motile MAPs, their role in the regulation of cytoskeletal dynamics and in viral trafficking during the early steps of infection.