W Cheung, M Gill, A Esposito, CF Kaminski, N Courousse, S Chwetzoff, G Trugnan, N Keshavan, A Lever, U Desselberger
Rotaviruses are a major cause of acute gastroenteritis in children worldwide. Early stages of rotavirus assembly in infected cells occur in viroplasms. Confocal microscopy demonstrated that viroplasms associate with lipids and proteins (perilipin A, ADRP) characteristic of lipid droplets (LDs). LD-associated proteins were also found to colocalize with viroplasms containing a rotaviral NSP5-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) fusion protein and with viroplasm-like structures in uninfected cells coexpressing viral NSP2 and NSP5. Close spatial proximity of NSP5-EGFP and cellular perilipin A was confirmed by fluorescence resonance energy transfer. Viroplasms appear to recruit LD components during the time course of rotavirus infection. NSP5-specific siRNA blocked association of perilipin A with NSP5 in viroplasms. Viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), NSP5, and perilipin A cosedimented in low-density gradient fractions of rotavirus-infected cell extracts. Chemical compounds interfering with LD formation (isoproterenol plus isobutylmethylxanthine; triacsin C) decreased the number of viroplasms and inhibited dsRNA replication and the production of infectious progeny virus; this effect correlated with significant protection of cells from virus-associated cytopathicity. Rotaviruses represent a genus of another virus family utilizing LD components for replication, pointing at novel therapeutic targets for these pathogens.