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Can viruses form biofilms?

Abstract : The recent finding that the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) encases itself in a carbohydrate-rich adhesive extracellular 'cocoon', which enables its efficient and protected transfer between cells, unveiled a new infectious entity and a novel mechanism of viral transmission. These HTLV-1 structures are observed at the surface of T cells from HTLV-1-infected patients and are reminiscent of bacterial biofilms. The virus controls the synthesis of the matrix, which surrounds the virions and attaches them to the T cell surface. We propose that, similar to bacterial biofilms, viral biofilms could represent 'viral communities' with enhanced infectious capacity and improved spread compared with 'free' viral particles, and might constitute a key reservoir for chronic infections.
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Maria-Isabel Thoulouze, Andrès Alcover. Can viruses form biofilms?. Trends Microbiol, 2011, 19 (6), pp.257-62. ⟨10.1016/j.tim.2011.03.002⟩. ⟨pasteur-00718636⟩



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