Filoviruses are hemorrhagic fever-causing agents that produce enveloped virions with a filamentous morphology. The viral surface glycoprotein, GP, orchestrates the surprisingly complex process by which filoviruses gain access to the cytoplasm of their host cells. GP mediates viral attachment to cells through multiple, redundant interactions with cell-surface factors. GP then induces virion internalization by a process that resembles cellular macropinocytosis. Within the endo/lysosomal pathway, GP undergoes a series of structural rearrangements, controlled by interactions with host factors, that prime and activate it to bring about fusion between the viral and cellular lipid bilayers. Membrane fusion delivers the viral nucleocapsid core into the cytoplasm, which is the site of filovirus replication. This review summarizes our understanding of the filovirus entry mechanism, with emphasis on recent findings.
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