Polyamine Depletion Inhibits Bunyavirus Infection via Generation of Noninfectious Interfering Virions.


Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, Illinois, USA [Email]


Several host and viral processes contribute to forming infectious virions. Polyamines are small host molecules that play diverse roles in viral replication. We previously demonstrated that polyamines are crucial for RNA viruses; however, the mechanisms by which polyamines function remain unknown. Here, we investigated the role of polyamines in the replication of the bunyaviruses Rift Valley fever virus (vaccine strain MP-12) and La Crosse virus (LACV). We found that polyamine depletion did not impact viral RNA or protein accumulation, despite significant decreases in titer. Viral particles demonstrated no change in morphology, size, or density. Thus, polyamine depletion promotes the formation of noninfectious particles. These particles interfere with virus replication and stimulate innate immune responses. We extended this phenotype to Zika virus; however, coxsackievirus did not similarly produce noninfectious particles. In sum, polyamine depletion results in the accumulation of noninfectious particles that interfere with replication and stimulate immune signaling, with important implications for targeting polyamines therapeutically, as well as for vaccine strategies.IMPORTANCE Bunyaviruses are emerging viral pathogens that cause encephalitis, hemorrhagic fevers, and meningitis. We have uncovered that diverse bunyaviruses require polyamines for productive infection. Polyamines are small, positively charged host-derived molecules that play diverse roles in human cells and in infection. In polyamine-depleted cells, bunyaviruses produce an overabundance of noninfectious particles that are indistinguishable from infectious particles. However, these particles interfere with productive infection and stimulate antiviral signaling pathways. We further find that additional enveloped viruses are similarly sensitive to polyamine depletion but that a nonenveloped enterovirus is not. We posit that polyamines are required to maintain bunyavirus infectivity and that polyamine depletion results in the accumulation of interfering noninfectious particles that limit infectivity. These results highlight a novel means by which bunyaviruses use polyamines for replication and suggest promising means to target host polyamines to reduce virus replication.


bunyaviruses,noninfectious particles,polyamines,

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