Sumario:Junín virus (JUNV), the causative agent of Argentine haemorrhagic fever, is a human pathogen that naturally enters the body through the epithelial cells of the respiratory and digestive tracts. The interaction of JUNV with two types of polarized epithelial cultures, Vero C1008 and A549, was investigated. Radioactive virus-binding assays showed that JUNV infects polarized lines preferentially through the apical surface. High-level expression of viral nucleoprotein was detected in polarized cell lines infected through the apical domain. Virus production from apical media was about 100-fold higher than that found into the basolateral medium. Confocal-immunofluorescence analysis revealed high-level expression of glycoprotein at the apical-membrane surface. Disruption of the microtubule network by colchicine impaired JUNV vectorial release. This is the first study to analyse the interaction between a member of the virus family Arenaviridae and polarized epithelial cells, showing preferential entry and release from the apical plasma membrane. © 2005 SGM.