The parvovirus Minute virus of mice (MVM) is a small DNA virus that replicates in the nucleus of its host cells. However, very little is known about the mechanisms underlying parvovirus' nuclear import. Recently, it was found that microinjection of MVM into the cytoplasm of Xenopus oocytes causes damage to the nuclear envelope (NE), suggesting that the nuclear-import mechanism of MVM involves disruption of the NE and import through the resulting breaks. Here, fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy were used to examine the effect of MVM on host-cell nuclear structure during infection of mouse fibroblast cells. It was found that MVM caused dramatic changes in nuclear shape and morphology, alterations of nuclear lamin immunostaining and breaks in the NE of infected cells. Thus, it seems that the unusual nuclear-import mechanism observed in Xenopus oocytes is in fact used by MVM during infection of host cells.
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