Viruses carry antiviral cargo

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Science  11 Sep 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6253, pp. 1166-1167
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0942

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In the molecular arms race between viruses and their host cells, each side employs multiple strategies to deal with the other. Whereas the host has sophisticated antiviral signaling programs to combat viral infection, viruses use their own proteins to subvert these host defenses. Viruses are often lauded for these clever evasion tactics. However, the host may also have its own brand of molecular chicanery. On pages 1232 and 1228 of this issue, Gentili et al. (1) and Bridgeman et al. (2), respectively, show that during infection, a host cell–derived antiviral molecule is packaged inside viral particles. As a stowaway, the antiviral factor is poised to trigger immune defense pathways upon infection of another host cell.