Viral Hijackers

Editor's choice in immunology

By | April 1, 2011

CHRIS BJORNBERG / PHOTO RESEARCHERS, INC. (DENGUE VIRUS)

The paper

N.S. Heaton, G. Randall, “Dengue virus–induced autophagy regulates lipid metabolism,” Cell Host Microbe, 8:422-32, 2010. Free F1000 Evaluation

The finding

Autophagy allows a cell to reuse essential molecules, eliminate bacterial invaders, or undergo programmed cell death. Nicholas Heaton and Glenn Randall at the University of Chicago discovered that dengue virus commandeers the autophagosome to convert cytoplasmic droplets of fatty acids into energy, for efficient viral replication. The study shows “how an intracellular pathogen can hijack the cell’s self-destruction machinery to fuel its selfish agenda for replication,” wrote F1000 Members Joeli Marrero and Sabine Ehrt in their evaluation.

The lipids

Heaton was studying the location and increased number of autophagosomes in dengue virus–infected cells when he noticed that the distribution of the autophagosomes correlated with that of lipid droplets. As infection progressed, the size of these lipid monolayer-bound droplets decreased, suggesting that the virus was using the fat stores.

The energy

The lipid droplets became depleted of triglycerides, an important cellular energy source. The researchers found that after dengue-virus infection, cells’ rate of ß-oxidation—a metabolic pathway utilizing triglycerides—rose significantly and in step with triglyceride depletion. When they inhibited ß-oxidation, viral replication and extracellular virus release declined, indicating that autophagy was needed for viral spread.

The trigger

The next step is to identify how this specific autophagic process is triggered by the virus. Interfering with autophagy in general could be toxic to a cell, but the initial induction of autophagy by dengue virus “is something you can target,” says Randall.

F1000 evaluators: M. Mari & F. Reggiori (Univ Med Cen Utrecht)P. Loke (New York Univ Langone Med Cen)J. Marrero & S. Ehrt (Weill Cornell Med College)

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. That Other CRISPR Patent Dispute
    Daily News That Other CRISPR Patent Dispute

    The Broad Institute and Rockefeller University disagree over which scientists should be named as inventors on certain patents involving the gene-editing technology.

  2. How Gaining and Losing Weight Affects the Body
    Daily News How Gaining and Losing Weight Affects the Body

    Millions of measurements from 23 people who consumed extra calories every day for a month reveal changes in proteins, metabolites, and gut microbiota that accompany shifts in body mass.

  3. Neurons Use Virus-Like Proteins to Transmit Information
  4. DOE-Sponsored Oak Ridge National Laboratory to Cut 100 More Jobs
AAAS