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Cytoskeleton—a crucial key in host cell for coronavirus infection
Zeyu Wen1,2,† , Yue Zhang1,2,† , Zhekai Lin1,2 , Kun Shi3 , Yaming Jiu1,2,*
1The Center for Microbes, Development and Health, Key Laboratory of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510623, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*Correspondence to:Yaming Jiu ,
J Mol Cell Biol, Volume 12, Issue 12, December 2020, 968-979,
Keyword: coronavirus, host cytoskeleton, actin filaments, microtubules, intermediate filaments, pathology

The emerging coronavirus (CoV) pandemic is threatening the public health all over the world. Cytoskeleton is an intricate network involved in controlling cell shape, cargo transport, signal transduction, and cell division. Infection biology studies have illuminated essential roles for cytoskeleton in mediating the outcome of host‒virus interactions. In this review, we discuss the dynamic interactions between actin filaments, microtubules, intermediate filaments, and CoVs. In one round of viral life cycle, CoVs surf along filopodia on the host membrane to the entry sites, utilize specific intermediate filament protein as co-receptor to enter target cells, hijack microtubules for transportation to replication and assembly sites, and promote actin filaments polymerization to provide forces for egress. During CoV infection, disruption of host cytoskeleton homeostasis and modification state is tightly connected to pathological processes, such as defective cytokinesis, demyelinating, cilia loss, and neuron necrosis. There are increasing mechanistic studies on cytoskeleton upon CoV infection, such as viral protein‒cytoskeleton interaction, changes in the expression and post-translation modification, related signaling pathways, and incorporation with other host factors. Collectively, these insights provide new concepts for fundamental virology and the control of CoV infection.