Extracellular vesicles are the Trojan horses of viral infection

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2016 Aug;32:77-81. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2016.05.004. Epub 2016 May 24.


Extracellular vesicles have recently emerged as a novel mode of viral propagation exploited by both enveloped and non-enveloped viruses. In particular non-enveloped viruses utilize the hosts' production of extracellular vesicles to exit from cells non-lytically and to hide and manipulate the immune system. Moreover, challenging the long held idea that viruses behave as independent genetic units, extracellular vesicles enable multiple viral particles and genomes to collectively traffic in and out of cells, which can promote genetic cooperativity among viral quasispecies and enhance the fitness of the overall viral population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Extracellular Vesicles / virology*
  • Genome, Viral / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immune Evasion / physiology*
  • Virus Diseases / transmission*
  • Virus Diseases / virology
  • Virus Replication / physiology*
  • Viruses / growth & development*
  • Viruses / immunology
  • Viruses / pathogenicity