Human cytomegalovirus modulates macroautophagy in two opposite directions. First, HCMV stimulates autophagy during the early stages of infection, as evident by an increase in the number of autophagosomes and a rise in the autophagic flux. This stimulation occurs independently of de novo viral protein synthesis since UV-inactivated HCMV recapitulates the stimulatory effect on macroautophagy. At later time points of infection, HCMV blocks autophagy (M. Chaumorcel, S. Souquere, G. Pierron, P. Codogno, and A. Esclatine, Autophagy 4:1-8, 2008) by a mechanism that requires de novo viral protein expression. Exploration of the mechanisms used by HCMV to block autophagy unveiled a robust increase of the cellular form of Bcl-2 expression. Although this protein has an anti-autophagy effect via its interaction with Beclin 1, it is not responsible for the inhibition induced by HCMV, probably because of its phosphorylation by c-Jun N-terminal kinase. Here we showed that the HCMV TRS1 protein blocks autophagosome biogenesis and that a TRS1 deletion mutant is defective in autophagy inhibition. TRS1 has previously been shown to neutralize the PKR antiviral effector molecule. Although phosphorylation of eIF2α by PKR has been described as a stimulatory signal to induce autophagy, the PKR-binding domain of TRS1 is dispensable to its inhibitory effect. Our results show that TRS1 interacts with Beclin 1 to inhibit autophagy. We mapped the interaction with Beclin 1 to the N-terminal region of TRS1, and we demonstrated that the Beclin 1-binding domain of TRS1 is essential to inhibit autophagy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science