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Intracellular lipid droplet accumulation occurs early following viral infection and is required for an efficient interferon response

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posted on 2021-08-19, 01:29 authored by Ebony MonsonEbony Monson, Keaton Crosse, Mubing DuanMubing Duan, Weisan ChenWeisan Chen, Ross O'SheaRoss O'Shea, LM Wakim, JM Carr, Donna WhelanDonna Whelan, Karla HelbigKarla Helbig
Lipid droplets (LDs) are increasingly recognized as critical organelles in signalling events, transient protein sequestration and inter-organelle interactions. However, the role LDs play in antiviral innate immune pathways remains unknown. Here we demonstrate that induction of LDs occurs as early as 2 h post-viral infection, is transient and returns to basal levels by 72 h. This phenomenon occurs following viral infections, both in vitro and in vivo. Virally driven in vitro LD induction is type-I interferon (IFN) independent, and dependent on Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) engagement, offering an alternate mechanism of LD induction in comparison to our traditional understanding of their biogenesis. Additionally, LD induction corresponds with enhanced cellular type-I and -III IFN production in infected cells, with enhanced LD accumulation decreasing viral replication of both Herpes Simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and Zika virus (ZIKV). Here, we demonstrate, that LDs play vital roles in facilitating the magnitude of the early antiviral immune response specifically through the enhanced modulation of IFN following viral infection, and control of viral replication. By identifying LDs as a critical signalling organelle, this data represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms which coordinate an effective antiviral response.


This work was funded by a La Trobe University Research Focus Area grant, as well as a NHMRC ideas grant (APP1181434) to K.J.H. and D.R.W.. L.W. is funded by an ARC Future Fellowship, D.W. is funded by an ARC DECRA.


Publication Date



Nature Communications





Article Number



17p. (p. 1-17)


Springer Nature



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