Send to

Choose Destination
Microbes Infect. 2012 Feb;14(2):159-68. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2011.09.001. Epub 2011 Sep 10.

Autophagy is involved in the early step of Japanese encephalitis virus infection.

Author information

Graduate Institute of Life Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan.


Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), an enveloped Flavivirus with a positive-sense RNA genome, causes acute encephalitis with high mortality in humans. We used a virulent (RP-9) and an attenuated (RP-2ms) JEV strain to assess the role of autophagy in JEV infection. By monitoring the levels of lipidated LC3, we found that autophagy was induced in human NT-2 cells infected with RP-2ms, especially at the late stage, and to a lesser extent with RP-9. The induction of autophagy by rapamycin increased viral production, whereas the inhibition of autophagy by 3-methyladenine reduced viral yields for both RP-9 and RP-2ms. The viral replication of RP-9 and RP-2ms was also reduced in cells with downregulated ATG5 or Beclin 1 expression, suggesting a proviral role of autophagy in JEV replication. To determine the step of JEV life cycle affected by autophagy, we used an mCherry-LC3 fusion protein as the autophagosome marker. Little of no colocalization of LC3 puncta with dsRNA was noted, whereas the input JEV particles were targeted to autophagosomes stained positive for early endosome marker. Overall, we show for the first time that the cellular autophagy process is involved in JEV infection and the inoculated viral particles traffic to autophagosomes for subsequent steps of viral infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center