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Sci Rep. 2015 Aug 7;5:12985. doi: 10.1038/srep12985.

Basal Autophagy Is Required for Herpes simplex Virus-2 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.


Autophagy is a conserved catabolic process of the cell, which plays an important role in regulating plethora of infections. The role of autophagy in Herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) infection is unknown. Here, we found that HSV-2 does not allow induction of an autophagic response to infection, but maintains basal autophagy levels mostly unchanged during productive infection. Thus, we investigated the importance of basal autophagy for HSV-2 infection, using pharmacological autophagy suppression or cells genetically deficient in an autophagy-essential gene (ATG5). Interference with basal autophagy flux in cells significantly reduced viral replication and diminished the infection. These results indicate that basal autophagy plays an indispensable role required for a productive infection. Importantly, this study draws a sharp distinction between induced and basal autophagy, where the former acts as a viral clearance mechanism abrogating infection, while the latter supports infection.

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