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Sci Rep. 2015 Apr 9;5:9730. doi: 10.1038/srep09730.

Autophagy stimulation abrogates herpes simplex virus-1 infection.

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1] Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Illinois, Chicago. IL USA, 60612 [2] Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago. IL USA, 60612.


Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) is a double-stranded DNA virus that causes life-long infections. HSV-1 infections may lead to herpetic stromal keratitis that may advance to corneal blindness. HSV-1 infections can also cause fatal conditions, such as herpes encephalitis, or neonatal disease. A major virulence mechanism of HSV-1 is the control of autophagy, an innate immune defense strategy that could otherwise degrade viral particles. Here, to investigate a new mechanism for antiviral therapy, we tested the effect of various autophagy inducers (physiological and pharmacological) on infection. Autophagy stimulation was confirmed to significantly suppress HSV-1 infection in various cell types, without affecting cell viability. This study establishes the importance of autophagy for regulating HSV-1 infection, and provides a proof-of-principle evidence for a novel antiviral mechanism.

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