Identification of host cell factors associated with astrovirus replication in Caco-2 Cells

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Murillo, A, Vera-Estrella, R, Barkla, BJ, Mendez, E & Arias, CF 2015, 'Identification of host cell factors associated with astrovirus replication in Caco-2 Cells', Journal of Virology, vol. 89, no. 20, pp. 10359-10370.

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Astroviruses are small, nonenveloped viruses with a single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome causing acute gastroenteritis in children and immunocompromised patients. Since positive-sense RNA viruses have frequently been found to replicate in association with membranous structures, in this work we characterized the replication of the human astrovirus serotype 8 strain Yuc8 in Caco-2 cells, using density gradient centrifugation and free-flow zonal electrophoresis (FFZE) to fractionate cellular membranes. Structural and nonstructural viral proteins, positive- and negative-sense viral RNA, and infectious virus particles were found to be associated with a distinct population of membranes separated by FFZE. The cellular proteins associated with this membrane population in infected and mock-infected cells were identified by tandem mass spectrometry. The results indicated that membranes derived from multiple cell organelles were present in the population. Gene ontology and protein-protein interaction network analysis showed that groups of proteins with roles in fatty acid synthesis and ATP biosynthesis were highly enriched in the fractions of this population in infected cells. Based on this information, we investigated by RNA interference the role that some of the identified proteins might have in the replication cycle of the virus. Silencing of the expression of genes involved in cholesterol (DHCR7, CYP51A1) and fatty acid (FASN) synthesis, phosphatidylinositol (PI4KIIIβ) and inositol phosphate (ITPR3) metabolism, and RNA helicase activity (DDX23) significantly decreased the amounts of Yuc8 genomic and antigenomic RNA, synthesis of the structural protein VP90, and virus yield. These results strongly suggest that astrovirus RNA replication and particle assembly take place in association with modified membranes potentially derived from multiple cell organelles.

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