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Oh, SNAP! How Enteroviruses Redirect Autophagic Traffic away from Degradation

By August 7, 2018No Comments

Picornaviruses, one of the major causes of human diseases ranging from the common cold to acute flaccid paralysis, have a short cytosolic lifecycle that, in cultured cells, ends in cell lysis. For years, the prevailing model was that these viruses exit from cells exclusively through cell lysis. However, over the last several years it has become apparent that for some picornaviruses, a macroautophagy/autophagy-related pathway can result in release of virus particles wrapped in a membrane containing autophagic markers. It has been proposed that this enveloped release predominates within hosts, allowing cell-to-cell movement of virus while minimizing exposure to the immune system. One reason that picornaviruses induce the autophagy pathway is to provide membrane scaffolds for RNA replication complexes. Perhaps more importantly, acidified autophagosomes (known as amphisomes) provide havens for maturation of new viral particles into infectious viruses. In back-to-back papers recently published in Cell Reports, our labs investigated a basic question: if picornavirus particles are maturing inside amphisomes, then how are they avoiding the typical degradative fate of autophagic cargo and exiting the cell intact?