Viral apoptotic mimicry

Ali Amara, Jason Mercer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


As opportunistic pathogens, viruses have evolved many elegant strategies to manipulate host cells for infectious entry and replication. Viral apoptotic mimicry, defined by the exposure of phosphatidylserine - a marker for apoptosis - on the pathogen surface, is emerging as a common theme used by enveloped viruses to promote infection. Focusing on the four best described examples (vaccinia virus, dengue virus, Ebola virus and pseudotyped lentivirus), we summarize our current understanding of apoptotic mimicry as a mechanism for virus entry, binding and immune evasion. We also describe recent examples of non-enveloped viruses that use this mimicry strategy, and discuss future directions and how viral apoptotic mimicry could be targeted therapeutically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-469
Number of pages9
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number8
Early online date8 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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