Coxsackievirus infection induces a non-canonical autophagy independent of the ULK and PI3K complexes

Yasir Mohamud, Junyan Shi, Hui Tang, Pinhao Xiang, Yuan Chao Xue, Huitao Liu, Chen Seng Ng, Honglin Luo

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) is a single-stranded positive RNA virus that usurps cellular machinery, including the evolutionarily anti-viral autophagy pathway, for productive infections. Despite the emergence of double-membraned autophagosome-like vesicles during CVB3 infection, very little is known about the mechanism of autophagy initiation. In this study, we investigated the role of established autophagy factors in the initiation of CVB3-induced autophagy. Using siRNA-mediated gene-silencing and CRISPR-Cas9-based gene-editing in culture cells, we discovered that CVB3 bypasses the ULK1/2 and PI3K complexes to trigger autophagy. Moreover, we found that CVB3-induced LC3 lipidation occurred independent of WIPI2 and the transmembrane protein ATG9 but required components of the late-stage ubiquitin-like ATG conjugation system including ATG5 and ATG16L1. Remarkably, we showed the canonical autophagy factor ULK1 was cleaved through the catalytic activity of the viral proteinase 3C. Mutagenesis experiments identified the cleavage site of ULK1 after Q524, which separates its N-terminal kinase domain from C-terminal substrate binding domain. Finally, we uncovered PI4KIIIβ (a PI4P kinase), but not PI3P or PI5P kinases as requisites for CVB3-induced LC3 lipidation. Taken together, our studies reveal that CVB3 initiates a non-canonical form of autophagy that bypasses ULK1/2 and PI3K signaling pathways to ultimately converge on PI4KIIIβ- and ATG5–ATG12–ATG16L1 machinery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19068
Number of pages14
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

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