Microtubule regulation and function during virus infection

Mojgan H. Naghavi, Derek Walsh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Microtubules (MTs) form a rapidly adaptable network of filaments that radiate throughout the cell. These dynamic arrays facilitate a wide range of cellular processes, including the capture, transport, and spatial organization of cargos and organelles, as well as changes in cell shape, polarity, and motility. Nucleating from MT-organizing centers, including but by no means limited to the centrosome, MTs undergo rapid transitions through phases of growth, pause, and catastrophe, continuously exploring and adapting to the intracellular environment. Subsets of MTs can become stabilized in response to environmental cues, acquiring distinguishing posttranslational modifications and performing discrete functions as specialized tracks for cargo trafficking. The dynamic behavior and organization of the MT array is regulated by MT-associated proteins (MAPs), which include a subset of highly specialized plus-end-tracking proteins (+TIPs) that respond to signaling cues to alter MT behavior. As pathogenic cargos, viruses require MTs to transport to and from their intracellular sites of replication. While interactions with and functions for MT motor proteins are well characterized and extensively reviewed for many viruses, this review focuses on MT filaments themselves. Changes in the spatial organization and dynamics of the MT array, mediated by virus- or host-induced changes to MT regulatory proteins, not only play a central role in the intracellular transport of virus particles but also regulate a wider range of processes critical to the outcome of infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00538-17
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Microtubule-associated proteins
  • Microtubules
  • Nucleation
  • Plus-end-tracking proteins
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Virology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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