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How viruses rewire their hosts to generate organelle platforms for replication...

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Published on Dec 9, 2011

For visitors who turn up with so little, viruses have a nasty way of making themselves at home in their host. A virus arrives with only its own RNA or DNA encased in a protein and/or lipid coat that protects its precious genetic material. Once inside the infected host, the virus quickly uncoats, releasing its genetic load, and starts smashing up the cellular furniture to serve its own reproductive needs. Viruses are particularly fond of assembling their replication machinery on the surface of membrane-bound cellular organelles such as the Golgi apparatus or the mitochondria. It's like home invasion bandits setting up a crystal meth lab on your great-grandmother's Chippendale dining table.

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