Poxvirus entry and membrane fusion

Virology. 2006 Jan 5;344(1):48-54. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2005.09.037.


The study of poxvirus entry and membrane fusion has been invigorated by new biochemical and microscopic findings that lead to the following conclusions: (1) the surface of the mature virion (MV), whether isolated from an infected cell or by disruption of the membrane wrapper of an extracellular virion, is comprised of a single lipid membrane embedded with non-glycosylated viral proteins; (2) the MV membrane fuses with the cell membrane, allowing the core to enter the cytoplasm and initiate gene expression; (3) fusion is mediated by a newly recognized group of viral protein components of the MV membrane, which are conserved in all members of the poxvirus family; (4) the latter MV entry/fusion proteins are required for cell to cell spread necessitating the disruption of the membrane wrapper of extracellular virions prior to fusion; and furthermore (5) the same group of MV entry/fusion proteins are required for virus-induced cell-cell fusion. Future research priorities include delineation of the roles of individual entry/fusion proteins and identification of cell receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Fusion
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / virology*
  • Giant Cells / virology
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Poxviridae / metabolism
  • Poxviridae / physiology*
  • Poxviridae / ultrastructure
  • Vaccinia virus / physiology
  • Viral Proteins / physiology
  • Virion / metabolism
  • Virion / physiology*
  • Virion / ultrastructure
  • Virus Replication


  • Viral Proteins