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PLoS Pathog. 2019 Sep 16;15(9):e1008021. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008021. eCollection 2019 Sep.

RACK1 mediates rewiring of intracellular networks induced by hepatitis C virus infection.

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Division of Integrative Bioscience & Biotechnology, POSTECH Biotech Center, POSTECH, Nam-gu, Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Rep. of KOREA.
Department of Infectious Diseases, Molecular Virology, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.
Department of Life Sciences, POSTECH Biotech Center, POSTECH, Nam-gu, Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Rep. of KOREA.
Division Virus-Associated Carcinogenesis, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a positive-strand RNA virus replicating in a membranous replication organelle composed primarily of double-membrane vesicles (DMVs) having morphological resemblance to autophagosomes. To define the mechanism of DMV formation and the possible link to autophagy, we conducted a yeast two-hybrid screening revealing 32 cellular proteins potentially interacting with HCV proteins. Among these was the Receptor for Activated Protein C Kinase 1 (RACK1), a scaffolding protein involved in many cellular processes, including autophagy. Depletion of RACK1 strongly inhibits HCV RNA replication without affecting HCV internal ribosome entry site (IRES) activity. RACK1 is required for the rewiring of subcellular membranous structures and for the induction of autophagy. RACK1 binds to HCV nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A), which induces DMV formation. NS5A interacts with ATG14L in a RACK1 dependent manner, and with the ATG14L-Beclin1-Vps34-Vps15 complex that is required for autophagosome formation. Both RACK1 and ATG14L are required for HCV DMV formation and viral RNA replication. These results indicate that NS5A participates in the formation of the HCV replication organelle through interactions with RACK1 and ATG14L.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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