Autophagy is an evolutionarily ancient pathway for survival during different forms of cellular stress, including infection with viruses and other intracellular pathogens. Autophagy may protect against viral infection through degradation of viral components (xenophagy), by promoting the survival or death of infected cells, through delivery of Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands to endosomes to activate innate immunity, or by feeding antigens to MHC class II compartments to activate adaptive immunity. Given this integral role of autophagy in innate and adaptive antiviral immunity, selective pressure likely promoted the emergence of escape mechanisms by pathogenic viruses. This review will briefly summarize the current understanding of autophagy as an antiviral pathway, and then discuss strategies that viruses may utilize to evade this host defense mechanism.
- Viral evasion