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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Aug 18;106(33):14046-51. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0907344106. Epub 2009 Aug 3.

The autophagy machinery is required to initiate hepatitis C virus replication.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Microbial Science, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


In addition to its cellular homeostasis function, autophagy is emerging as a central component of antimicrobial host defense against diverse infections. To counteract this mechanism, many pathogens have evolved to evade, subvert, or exploit autophagy. Here, we report that autophagy proteins (i.e., Beclin-1, Atg4B, Atg5, and Atg12) are proviral factors required for translation of incoming hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA and, thereby, for initiation of HCV replication, but they are not required once infection is established. These results illustrate a previously unappreciated role for autophagy in the establishment of a viral infection and they suggest that different host factors regulate the translation of incoming viral genome and translation of progeny HCV RNA once replication is established.

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