Editors' ChoiceVirology

Viruses pack antiviral mediators

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Sci. Signal.  15 Sep 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 394, pp. ec267
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aad4148

Viruses often hijack host proteins for their own use, turning host cells into virion-spewing machines. However, Bridgeman et al. and Gentili et al. now report a sneaky way that the host can fight back (see the Perspective by Schoggins). Host cells that expressed the enzyme cGAS, an innate immune receptor that senses cytoplasmic DNA, packaged the cGAS-generated second messenger cGAMP into virions. Virions could then transfer cGAMP to neighboring cells, triggering an antiviral gene program in these newly infected cells. Such transfer of an antiviral mediator may help to speed up the immune response to put the brakes on viral spread.

A. Bridgeman, J. Maelfait, T. Davenne, T. Partridge, Y. Peng, A. Mayer, T. Dong, V. Kaever, P. Borrow, J. Rehwinkel, Viruses transfer the antiviral second messenger cGAMP between cells. Science 349, 1228–1232 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]

M. Gentili, J. Kowal, M. Tkach, T. Satoh, X. Lahaye, C. Conrad, M. Boyron, B. Lombard, S. Durand, G. Kroemer, D. Loew, M. Dalod, C. Théry, N. Manel, Transmission of innate immune signaling by packaging of cGAMP in viral particles. Science 349, 1232–1236 (2015).[Abstract] [Full Text]

J. W. Schoggins, Viruses carry antiviral cargo. Science 349, 1166–1167 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]