Common principles in viral entry

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2002;56:521-38. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.56.012302.160643. Epub 2002 Jan 30.


Viruses occur throughout the biosphere. Cells of Eukarya, Bacteria, and Archaea are infected by a variety of viruses that considerably outnumber the host cells. Although viruses have adapted to different host systems during evolution and many different viral strategies have developed, certain similarities can be found. Viruses encounter common problems during their entry process into the host cells, and similar strategies seem to ensure, for example, that the movement toward the site of replication and the translocation through the host membrane occur. The penetration of the host cell's external envelope involves, across the viral world, either fusion between two membranes, channel formation through the host envelope, disruption of the membrane vesicle, or a combination of these events. Endocytic-type events may occur during the entry of a bacterial virus as well as during the entry of an animal virus; the same applies for membrane fusion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Capsid Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / virology
  • Endocytosis
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism
  • Virus Integration / physiology*


  • Capsid Proteins
  • Viral Envelope Proteins