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In this article, we adopt a continuum model from Sun and Wirtz (2006. Biophys. J. 90:L10-L12) to show that, for the enveloped virus entry into host cells, the binding energy of the receptor-ligand complex can drive the engulfment of the viral particle to overcome the resistance alternatively dominated by the membrane deformation and cytoskeleton deformation at a different engulfing stage. This is contrary to the conclusions by Sun and Wirtz that the cytoskeleton deformation is always dominant. This discrepancy occurs because the energy of membrane deformation in their article is incorrect. Such an unfortunate small error has led to a severe underestimation of the contribution from membrane deformation to the total energy of the system, which then led them to improperly conclude that the cytoskeleton deformation plays the dominant role in the virus entry into host cell. By using the correct energy expression, our conclusion is justified by energy comparisons under a large range of virus sizes and Young's moduli of cytoskeleton. We even find that a critical radius of virus exists, beyond which the resistance to the virus engulfment becomes dominated by the membrane deformation during the whole stage, contrary to the point of view of Sun and Wirtz. Copyright © 2012 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Long Li, Xiaojing Liu, Youhe Zhou, Jizeng Wang. On resistance to virus entry into host cells. Biophysical journal. 2012 May 2;102(9):2230-3

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PMID: 22824288

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