HKU-Pasteur together with the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology of the University of Oxford released an article on the biogenesis of virus replication organelles.
Infection by many (+)RNA viruses is accompanied by ER-expansion and membrane remodelling to form viral replication organelles, followed by assembly and secretion of viral progenies. We previously identified that virus-triggered lipophagy was critical for flaviviral assembly, and is driven by the lipid droplet associated protein Ancient ubiquitin protein 1 (Aup1). A ubiquitin conjugating protein Ube2g2 that functions as a co-factor for Aup1 was identified as a host dependency factor in our study. Here we characterized its function: Ube2g2-deficient cells displayed a dramatic reduction in virus production, which could be rescued by reconstituting the wild-type but not the catalytically deficient (C89K) mutant of Ube2g2, suggesting that its enzymatic activity is necessary. Ube2g2 deficiency did not affect entry of virus particles but resulted in a profound loss in formation of replication organelles, and production of infectious progenies. This phenomenon resulted from its dual activity in (i) triggering lipophagy in conjunction with Aup1, and (ii) degradation of ER chaperones such as Herpud1, SEL1L, Hrd1, along with Sec62 to restrict ER-phagy upon Xbp1-IRE1 triggered ER expansion. Our results therefore underscore an exquisite fine-tuning of selective autophagy by flaviviruses that drive host membrane reorganization during infection to enable biogenesis of viral replication organelles.