Viral stop-and-go along microtubules: taking a ride with dynein and kinesins

Trends Microbiol. 2005 Jul;13(7):320-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2005.05.010.


Incoming viral particles move from the cell surface to sites of viral transcription and replication. By contrast, during assembly and egress, subviral nucleoprotein complexes and virions travel back to the plasma membrane. Because diffusion of large molecules is severely restricted in the cytoplasm, viruses use ATP-hydrolyzing molecular motors of the host for propelling along the microtubules, which are the intracellular highways. Recent studies have revealed that, besides travelling inside endocytic or exocytic vesicles, viral proteins interact directly with dynein or kinesin motors. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of cytoplasmic viral transport will aid in the construction of viral vectors for human gene therapy and the search for new antiviral targets.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Dyneins / physiology*
  • Kinesin / physiology*
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Motion*
  • Viral Proteins / physiology*
  • Virus Physiological Phenomena*
  • Viruses / pathogenicity*
  • Viruses / ultrastructure


  • Viral Proteins
  • Dyneins
  • Kinesin