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Enveloped viruses and cellular transport vesicles share obvious morphological and functional properties. Both are composed of a closed membrane, which is lined with coat proteins and encases cargo. Transmembrane proteins inserted into the membrane define the target membrane area with which the vesicle or virus is destined to fuse. Here we discuss recent insight into the functioning of enveloped viruses in the framework of the "functional module" concept. Vesicular transport is an exemplary case of a functional module, as defined as a part of the proteome that assembles to perform a specific autonomous function in a living cell. Cellular vesicles serve to transport cargo between membranous organelles inside the cell, while enveloped viruses can be seen as carriers of the viral genome delivering their cargo from an infected to an uninfected cell. The turnover of both vesicles and viruses involves an analogous series of submodular events. This comprises assembly of elements, budding from the donor compartment, uncoating and/or maturation, docking to and finally fusion with the target membrane to release the cargo. This modular perception enables us to define submodular building blocks so that mechanisms and elements can be directly compared. It will be analyzed where viruses have developed their own specific strategy, where they share functional schemes with vesicles, and also where they even have "hijacked" complete submodular schemes from the cell. Such a perspective may also include new and more specific approaches to pharmacological interference with virus function, which could avoid some of the most severe side effects.