Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The paradigm that viruses can move directly, and in some cases covertly, between contacting target cells is now well established for several virus families. The underlying mechanisms of cell-to-cell spread, however, remain to be fully elucidated and may differ substantially depending on the viral exit/entry route and the cellular tropism. Here, two divergent cell-to-cell spread mechanisms are exemplified: firstly by human retroviruses, which rely upon transient adhesive structures that form between polarized immune cells termed virological synapses, and secondly by herpesviruses that depend predominantly on pre-existing stable cellular contacts, but may also form virological synapses. Plant viruses can also spread directly between contacting cells, but are obliged by the rigid host cell wall to move across pore structures termed plasmodesmata. This review will focus primarily on recent advances in our understanding of animal virus cell-to-cell spread using examples from these two virus families, and will conclude by comparing and contrasting the cell-to-cell spread of animal and plant viruses.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Opin Virol

Publication Date





396 - 402


Animals, Humans, Plant Diseases, Plant Viruses, Virus Diseases, Virus Physiological Phenomena, Viruses