Intracellular Lipid Droplet Accumulation Occurs Early Following Viral Infection and Is Required for an Efficient Interferon Response

Ebony A Monson, Keaton M Crosse, Erika Duan, Weisan Chen, Ross D O'Shea, Linda M Wakem, Donna R Whelan, Karla J Helbig

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Received Date: 7th February 20

Lipid droplets (LDs) are increasingly recognized as critical organelles in signalling events, transient protein sequestration and inter-organelle interactions. However, the role LDs play in antiviral innate immune pathways remains unknown. Here we demonstrate that induction of LDs occurs as early as 2 hours post viral infection, is transient, and returns to basal levels by 72 hours. This phenomenon occurred following viral infections, both in vitro and in vivo.  Virally driven LD induction was type-I interferon (IFN) independent, however, was dependent on EGFR engagement, offering an alternate mechanism of LD induction in comparison to our traditional understanding of their biogenesis.  Additionally, LD induction corresponded with enhanced cellular type-I and -III IFN production in infected cells, with enhanced LD accumulation decreasing viral replication of both HSV-1 and Zika virus (ZIKV). Here, we demonstrate for the first time, that LDs play vital roles in facilitating the magnitude of the early antiviral immune response specifically through the enhanced modulation of IFN following viral infection, and control of viral replication. By identifying LDs as a critical signalling organelle, this data represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms which coordinate an effective antiviral response.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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