Interferon inducible transmembrane (IFITM) proteins are a recently discovered family of cellular anti-viral proteins that restrict the replication of a number of enveloped and non-enveloped viruses. IFITM proteins are located in the plasma membrane and endosomal membranes, the main portals of entry for many viruses. Biochemical and membrane fusion studies suggest IFITM proteins have the ability to inhibit viral entry, possibly by modulating the fluidity of cellular membranes. Here we discuss the IFITM proteins, recent work on their mode of action, and future directions for research.
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