Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; Department of Bioengineering, Samueli School of Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
Zika virus is a pathogen that poses serious consequences, including congenital microcephaly. Although many viruses reprogram host cell metabolism, whether Zika virus alters cellular metabolism and the functional consequences of Zika-induced metabolic changes remain unknown. Here, we show that Zika virus infection differentially reprograms glucose metabolism in human versus C6/36 mosquito cells by increasing glucose use in the tricarboxylic acid cycle in human cells versus increasing glucose use in the pentose phosphate pathway in mosquito cells. Infection of human cells selectively depletes nucleotide triphosphate levels, leading to elevated AMP/ATP ratios, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation, and caspase-mediated cell death. AMPK is also phosphorylated in Zika virus-infected mouse brain. Inhibiting AMPK in human cells decreases Zika virus-mediated cell death, whereas activating AMPK in mosquito cells promotes Zika virus-mediated cell death. These findings suggest that the differential metabolic reprogramming during Zika virus infection of human versus mosquito cells determines whether cell death occurs.