The endoplasmic reticulum (ER), with its expansive membranous system and a vast network of chaperones, enzymes, sensors, and ion channels, orchestrates diverse cellular functions, ranging from protein synthesis, folding, secretion, and degradation to lipid biogenesis and calcium homeostasis. Strikingly, some of the functions of the ER are exploited by viruses to promote their life cycles. During entry, viruses must penetrate a host membrane and reach an intracellular destination to express and replicate their genomes. These events lead to the assembly of new viral progenies that exit the host cell, thereby initiating further rounds of infection. In this review, we highlight how three distinct viruses — polyomavirus, flavivirus, and coronavirus — co-opt key functions of the ER to cause infection. We anticipate that illuminating this virus-ER interplay will provide rational therapeutic approaches to combat the virus-induced diseases.

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