News & AnalysisMicrobiology

Gut Bacteria Lend a Molecular Hand to Viruses

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Science  14 Oct 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6053, pp. 168
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6053.168

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On page 245 of this week's issue of Science, researchers describe a virus that covers itself with molecules from natural gut bacteria, and those molecules interact with TLR4, a mouse immune system receptor, to make viral infection possible. Nor is this pathogen, the mouse mammary tumor virus, the only virus that co-opts components of the microflora. At least two others, including poliovirus, rely on those same molecules from gut bacteria to invade their host, another team reports in a study, on page 249, that echoes the first finding.