mLST8 is essential for coronavirus replication and regulates its replication through the mTORC1 pathway.

Publication date: Jun 28, 2023

Coronaviruses (CoVs), which pose a serious threat to human and animal health worldwide, need to hijack host factors to complete their replicative cycles. However, the current study of host factors involved in CoV replication remains unknown. Here, we identified a novel host factor, mammalian lethal with sec-13 protein 8 (mLST8), which is a common subunit of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2), and is critical for CoV replication. Inhibitor and knockout (KO) experiments revealed that mTORC1, but not mTORC2, is essential for transmissible gastroenteritis virus replication. Furthermore, mLST8 KO reduced the phosphorylation of unc-51-like kinase 1 (ULK1), a factor downstream of the mTORC1 signaling pathway, and mechanistic studies revealed that decreased phosphorylation of the mTORC1 downstream factor ULK1 promoted the activation of autophagy, which is responsible for antiviral replication in mLST8 KO cells. Then, transmission electron microscopy indicated that both mLST8 KO and autophagy activator inhibited the formation of double-membrane vesicles in early viral replication. Finally, mLST8 KO and autophagy activator treatment could also inhibit the replication of other CoVs, indicating a conserved relationship between autophagy activation and CoV replication. In summary, our work reveals that mLST8 is a novel host regulator of CoV replication, which provides new insights into the mechanism of CoV replication and can facilitate the development of broad-spectrum antiviral drugs. IMPORTANCE CoVs are highly variable, and existing CoV vaccines are still limited in their ability to address mutations in CoVs. Therefore, the need to improve our understanding of the interaction of CoVs with the host during viral replication and to find targets for drugs against CoVs is urgent. Here, we found that a novel host factor, mLST8, is critical for CoV infection. Further studies showed that mLST8 KO inhibited the mTORC1 signaling pathway, and we found that autophagy activation downstream of mTORC1 was the main cause of antiviral replication in mLST8 KO cells. Autophagy activation impaired the formation of DMVs and inhibited early viral replication. These findings deepen our understanding of the CoV replication process and provide insights into potential therapeutic applications.

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Concepts Keywords
Coronaviruses autophagy
Gastroenteritis coronavirus
Hijack mLST8
Lethal mTORC1
Mtorc2 replication


Type Source Name
disease IDO replication
disease IDO host
disease VO Transmissible gastroenteritis virus
pathway KEGG Autophagy
pathway KEGG Viral replication
disease MESH infection
disease IDO process

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