Because many viruses replicate in the nucleus of their host cells, they must have ways of transporting their genome and other components into and out of this compartment. For the incoming virus particle, nuclear entry is often one of the final steps in a complex transport and uncoating program. Typically, it involves recognition by importins (karyopherins), transport to the nucleus, and binding to nuclear pore complexes. Although all viruses take advantage of cellular signals and factors, viruses and viral capsids vary considerably in size, structure, and in how they interact with the nuclear import machinery. Influenza and adenoviruses undergo extensive disassembly prior to genome import; herpesviruses release their genome into the nucleus without immediate capsid disassembly. Polyoma viruses, parvoviruses, and lentivirus preintegration complexes are thought to enter in intact form, whereas the corresponding complexes of onco-retroviruses have to wait for mitosis because they cannot infect interphase nuclei.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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