Abstract

Viruses utilize host lipids to promote the viral life cycle, but much remains unknown as to how this is regulated. Zinc is a critical element for life, and few studies have linked zinc to lipid homeostasis. We demonstrated that Caenorhabditis elegans infection by Orsay virus is dependent upon lipids and that mutation of the master regulator of lipid biosynthesis, sbp-1, reduced Orsay virus RNA levels by;236-fold. Virus infection could be rescued by dietary supplementation with lipids downstream of fat-6/fat-7. Mutation of a zinc transporter encoded by sur-7, which suppresses the lipid defect of sbp-1, also rescued Orsay virus infection. Furthermore, reducing zinc levels by chemical chelation in the sbp-1 mutant also increased lipids and rescued Orsay virus RNA levels. Finally, increasing zinc levels by dietary supplementation led to an;1,620-fold reduction in viral RNA. These findings provide insights into the critical interactions between zinc and host lipids necessary for virus infection. IMPORTANCE Orsay virus is the only known natural virus pathogen of Caenorhabditis elegans, which shares many evolutionarily conserved pathways with humans. We leveraged the powerful genetic tractability of C. elegans to characterize a novel interaction between zinc, lipids, and virus infection. Inhibition of the Orsay virus replication in the sbp-1 mutant animals, explained by the lipid depletion, can be rescued by a genetic and pharmacological approach that reduces the zinc accumulation and rescues the lipid levels in this mutant animal. Interestingly, the human ortholog of sbp-1, srebp-1, has been reported to play a role for virus infection, and zinc has been shown to inhibit the virus replication of multiple viruses. However, the mechanism through which zinc is acting is not well understood. These results suggest that the lipid regulation mediated by zinc may play a relevant role during mammalian virus infection.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of virology
Volume96
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Orsay virus
  • lipid regulation
  • replication
  • sbp-1/srebp-1
  • zinc

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