Hole-istic Medicine

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Science  28 May 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5419, pp. 1475-1477
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5419.1475

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It is a mystery how some viruses are able to replicate inside the host cell, producing progeny that escape without damaging the host's plasma membrane. In a Perspective, Joshua Zimmerberg describes new research ( Marciano et al.) demonstrating that the f1 phage (a virus that infects bacteria) is able to export new progeny out of the bacterial host using a phage-encoded pIV protein, which forms a gated channel in the bacterial outer membrane. Zimmerberg compares this mechanism of export to that of other viruses and discusses what these new findings teach us about protein translocation in eukaryotic cells.