The ability of viruses to co-opt cell signalling pathways has, over millions of years of co-evolution, come to pervade nearly every facet of cellular functions. Recognition of the extent to which the ubiquitin–proteasome system can be directed or subverted by viruses is relatively recent. Viral products interact with, and adjust, the ubiquitin–proteasome machinery precisely and at many levels, and they do so at distinct stages of viral life-cycles. The implications for both cells and viruses are fundamental, and understanding viral strategies in this context opens up fascinating new areas for research that span from basic cell biology to therapeutic interventions against both viruses and malignancies.

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