South China Agricultural University, Guangdong Province Key Laboratory Microbial Signals & Disease Co, and Integrative Microbiology Research Centre, Guangzhou, 510642, Guangdong, People's Republic of China. Electronic address: [Email]
Coronavirus infection induces the generation of autophagosomes, and certain host proteins regulating cellular autophagy are hijacked by some coronaviruses to facilitate the formation of double membrane vesicles. However, mechanisms underlying coronavirus-induced autophagy remain largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that autophagosome formation and apparent autophagic flux are induced in cells infected with infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) - a gammacoronavirus. Notably, IBV-induced autophagy was dependent on autophagy related 5 (ATG5) but not beclin1 (BECN1), although both are essential proteins in the canonical autophagy pathway. Moreover, the ER stress sensor inositol requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1), but not its substrate X-box protein 1 (XBP1), was also essential for the induction of autophagy during IBV infection. Finally, the anti-apoptotic extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) also contributed to IBV-induced autophagy. Our findings add new knowledge to the regulatory mechanisms governing coronavirus-induced autophagy, highlighting an extensive cross-talk among cellular signaling pathways during coronavirus infection.